Define of Teamwork

Teamwork is the accomplishment of a universal goal by individuals who work together.

Origin and History

The use of the word teamwork seems to originate sometime in the 1920’s.  The origination of the word in the 1920’s does not mean teamwork began in this capacity.  Early civilization began with hunters and gatherers each playing a necessary role as a member of the tribe.  When there were more members, groups could attain greater achievements.  As groups grew in size, there was a demand for specialization to avoid duplication of work.

Teamwork occurs in primates like the chimpanzees.  Chimpanzees will work together toward a common goal, even distributing and sharing resources as necessary to achieve a goal such as acquiring food or defending their territory.

Important Concepts About Working with Others

There are different theories about teamwork that evolve around employee motivation, workplace culture, team development, and value of rewards and recognition.  There are four core concepts in understanding teamwork so one can get the most out of using teams.

1.      Leadership and follower interactions influence output.

When leaders have good working relationships with their followers, followers have increase in self worth.  The thinking is that these interactions encourage followers to produce more in an effort to enhance their self worth and status within the team.

2.      Organizational norms influence production.

Social norms set the standard for acceptable work.  Therefore, high functioning teams continue to perform at high levels while poorly functioning teams continue to struggle.

3.      Environments have traditions.

Members face both internal and external demands on performance.  These demands shape the manner in which members achieve results thus creating habits.

4.      There is an intrinsic need to receive support.

Members receive support through recognition, team security, and the emotional connection that accompanies belonging.

Tips to Get Along with Others

Teamwork begins with clear and open communication.  Members should feel free to participate in the discussion and decision making process.  This also means that as one person is talking the other person is present and listening to the other individual.

A team leader does not focus solely on their responsibilities but also the responsibilities of the other members.  The leader provides the team with direction and helps remove distractions to that the team can focus on achieving the goal.  Leaders should empower members to participate and encourage them by providing support, which leads to trust.

Empowerment can occur by providing team members with the opportunity to leverage their unique strengths.  Allowing members the chance to work on unique projects provides them with an occasion for special recognition and emotional support.

The team objective must be a goal that unifies the team.  As the team works together toward the unifying goal, it brings members together.  This togetherness helps to unite the team and bring them closer together as they learn from one another.

Leaders should recognize wins and individual performance.  Work relationships do not always look like a bed of roses.  Sometimes the only way to get people to work together is with the use of incentives.  Members need to know the value and reasoning why they should put forth effort.  Note that monetary rewards are not always necessary.  Leaders need to take the time to identify what motivates a person and use that knowledge to their advantage to achieve a team goal.

Reevaluate progress and set new goals or develop manners to achieve existing goals.  As new information is available, existing plans may need to change.  Internal or external demands may influence the performance of an individual.  You should always include a review period into any group work.

It may also be worth running a team building day for your team to attend. Adlington Hall offer a fantastic range of events which are perfect to get your team working together.

Team Quotes

In order to encourage teamwork, here are some motivational quotes concerning teamwork.

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. ~Andrew Carnegie

“Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.” Unknown

“Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results.” Ifeany Enoch Onuoha

“The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” James Cash Penny

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan

“Good teams incorporate teamwork into their culture, creating the building blocks for success.”  Ted Sundquist

“Teamwork. A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.” Justin Sewell


10 Team Building Activities for Work Small Groups