Science behind teamwork: How to be better at it?

The word teamwork has grown into a universally desirable business attribute, considered the best way of getting the job done.

However, although much has been said on teamwork and leadership, still very few companies and organizations have a clear understanding of what teamwork truly is, how to achieve and improve it.

It appears that the qualities that make a team more efficient and productive might also undermine success in teams that are large, diverse, virtual, and are created of experts and educated specialists.

In such teams, sharing knowledge and resources, learning from one another, helping with deadlines, that is, every action that foster collaboration within the team, might not happen freely and naturally, or not happen at all.

What makes a team smarter?

What makes a good team leader?

How to clearly define roles in a team?

How to foster self-correction in a team?

These, and other productivity-related questions, have been a subject of research for years in order to better define the “rules” and principles of teamwork.

These researches also provide information on how people are bad at teamwork, very often not even agreeing on what team is supposed to be doing, or what it is. However, when it comes to teamwork, it’s also important to recognize the psychological and social moments of the team.

Most companies easily forget or ignore the fact that various psychological and social factors impact a cohesive teamwork.

What other factors foster collaboration and work performance within the team?  

#1  Informal Interactions Empower Team Success 

According to researchers, the members of the team that communicated outside of office and enjoyed in informal interaction are considered the best teams to contribute to success.

Although having informal connections and meetings outside office is logically contributing to better personal relations and collaboration, the research saw informal communication as the most important factor for a teamwork. It appears that these interactions account for one of third of the differences in productivity.  

#2 Gender Balanced Teams Perform Better

Gender diversity is already recognized as important contributing factor that enhance the performance within a team. Many studies and researches showed that the teams who have at least one women on board perform better, and that the members of the team are more inclusive and stronger in work management.

However, what is the optimum gender balance? One experiment showed that teams created of a 50-50 mix of men and women performed the best, explaining that these teams show more balanced leadership skills and better monitoring. 

#3 Working In The Same (familiar) Team Has Enormous Benefits

Working together with familiar faces foster mutual understanding because the members of the team know their strengths and weaknesses, create mutual working habits, and develop their own ways of communication. With such shared experience, mutual understanding is empowered and focus on achieving results is emphasized.

Another benefit of a familiar team is the ability to assess and monitor the performance of the team once one or two team members are excluded from it. Individual skills might sometimes undermine and devalue the skills of the whole team.

#4 One Analytic Thinker Is Necessary For Good Performing Of The Team

Teams operate in accordance with different tasks and responsibilities; however, having a good focus on the details is important for execution of any project. Researchers from the Tepper School of Business showed that one analytic thinker in the team is highly desirable for the process of execution. 

Being able to identify resources and develop strategy for implementation is, without a doubt, crucial. However, it appears that a team member with strong analytic skills can also harm the performance of the team, thus having team members with different thinking approach and a balance of analytic skills is very important for the team.

What makes your team work better?

 

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