Teamwork is the process of a group of people collaborating and working together to produce a specific goal. Collaboration is often associated with the workplace. The employees might work together on a project, participate in their assigned roles, and present a final result. Teamwork is also present in school environments and in family dynamics, where people can work as a collective to make something happen. In a productive team situation, the members of the group can rely on one another’s strengths to produce a positive outcome. Here you will find articles that define what teamwork is, how the best groups of individuals work together, what obstacles people face as members of a team, and how to get the most out of working as a group.
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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Teamwork is when a group of people works together for a common cause. It’s a collaborative effort of a collective of individuals known as a team that attempt to accomplish a common goal. The team completes their efforts in the most efficient manner possible. Teamwork involves compromise and collaboration.
The History of Teamwork
The history of teamwork began on an ordinary assembly line in the 1920s and ’30s where people worked together to create objects. It then involved in a corporate model where organizations saw the value of teamwork or working together. Not everyone could or should complete every step of a goal. They found that it was more important for people to specialize in certain steps along the way to accomplishing that goal. It first originated in World War I and was an effort to unite people.
The Hawthorne Effect
In the 1920s an experiment was conducted on workers in a Chicago factory where they were observed working in low levels of light and brighter lights. The workers seemed to perform better when they were located in brighter lights because they liked that people were watching them and cared about what they were doing. The name “The Hawthorne Effect” was coined in 1958 by Henry A. Landsberger when he analyzed the findings of the research conducted at The Hawthorne Factory. These experiments showed the positive effects of teamwork in a factory setting, and people began to recognize that it could be a useful model in a corporate context as well.
How Teamwork is Effective
Practically teamwork is useful because you have a bunch of people creating one object or product. There are individual members of the team that need to be present for it to function well. Within the organization, there needs to be independence. Each team member needs to know what their job is, and they need to be able to do their job well. The team has to have clear and realistic goals. To have a successful team there needs to be a mixture of personality types including type A and type B. Type A is organized and detail oriented, and Type B is big picture and comfortable. It’s essential to have a mixture of these types of people within the team to balance it.
Kinds of Teams
There are many types of teams. A family unit is a team. They are a group of people who are working together for a common goal. When you’re a part of a couple, you are also a team. A group of people who are engaged in competitive sports in high school are also a part of a team. Teamwork is an integral part of our lives. At one point or another, we will be a part of a team.
Qualities That Make Up a Good Team
- Open communication - the team members talk to each other honestly
- Coordination - each member of the team is aware of what the other’s role is on the team, and they support each person doing their part
- Independence - the team members do separate jobs, and also work together
- Interdependence - people are trusting one another, and they depend on each other to achieve the common goal
During the transition process, potential team members assess each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Performance assessments
- Task analysis
- Form strategies
- Set goals
During the active processes, the team monitors their progress and coordination. They assess how well they’re doing their job. Here’s what happens during this phase:
- Progress monitoring
- Team monitoring
Here the team assesses how well they’re getting along. The group talks about these issues during the action and transition periods. They’ll resolve team conflicts and help the members support each other. Here’s what happens during this phase:
- Conflict management
- Building team motivation and confidence
Talking About Teamwork in Online Counseling
If you’re working in a setting where you’re a part of a team, and that group of individuals is struggling you might want to discuss your problems in therapy. Online counseling can be a great place to talk about how to work together with others. Whether you’re a part of a family unit, or a member of a group of corporate professionals; teamwork is a big part of our lives. An online counselor can help you learn how to work with others and manage relationships. Search the network of online counselors here at BetterHelp and find one who works for your needs.