5 Pillars of Effective Teamwork

In life, many of your achievements are accomplished with a team. At work, in sports, in business, in entertainment, in politics, or in any other field, teamwork is essential to achieving great results.

Great work is rarely the result of a one-man show. In most cases, great work is a team sport. Thus, learning to work effectively in a team is vital to your success. As a member of a team, you’re important to the team’s results and must participate in making the team effective.

Many elements contribute to helping a team operate effectively.

1. Clear Goals

To be effective, a team must have a clear idea of what it’s trying to achieve. It must have clear goals. Usually, the goals are established by the leader(s) of the team. And, by being in the team, the members of the team commit to participating in reaching those goals.

Establishing clear goals galvanizes the team and ensures that all the members of the team are paddling in the same direction—at least they know in which direction they should paddle. Without clear goals, the team doesn’t have a purpose, and members risk paddling in opposite directions, which is a waste of time and energy.

2. Clear Roles and Responsibilities

Each member of the team has skills and expertise that they’re called upon to use to help the team reach its goals. For the team to be effective, members of the team must know what is expected of them: they must know their role and their responsibilities.

To work effectively, members of the team must be clear about the outcomes they’re accountable for. They must know their deliverables. Without this, they’re being set up for failure.

Having clear roles and responsibilities is a must for effective teamwork.

3. Clear Communication

Communication is the bloodstream of any team. Without clear communication, the team is arthritic and ineffective.

For teamwork to be effective, the lines of communication between team members (including team leader(s)) must be open, and pertinent information must flow freely between the members of the team.

Leader(s) must ensure that the team has the information it needs to perform at its best. And leaders must encourage the members of the team to communicate with one another as required.

This also requires that the team uses proper means of communication: the team’s communication tools are effective.

4. Clear Standards

To be effective, a team must be committed to producing quality work (individually and collectively). That is, members of the team must be informed of the team’s standards of excellence and be held to these standards.

Also, the team must have clear interpersonal standards: members must know how the are to interact with each other. Mutual respect and the right attitude must be maintained at all times.

5. Clear Support System

To be effective, members of the team must receive adequate training, which helps them produce work to the established standards. Also, the members must be supported in their professional development.

Moreover, members of the team are human: they have questions; they make mistakes; they face challenges. Thus, at times, they need the support of their leader(s) and other team members.

A clear support system is a vital component of effective teamwork.

Whether you lead a team or are a member of one, seek to have a clear understanding of the team’s goals, to know your role and responsibilities, to maintain the lines of communication open with your leader(s) and colleagues, to produce quality work, and when in need, to leverage the support system(s) at your disposal. By doing this, you’ll contribute to making the team effective.