7 Tips To Help You Improve Your Teamwork Skills

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry
Updated February 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

One of the most valuable things an employer can see in you is your value to the team. No matter what field you work in, having the skills to collaborate with others, stay open to new ideas, and adapt to change can be highly beneficial. Like many skills, teamwork is something that you may need to practice if you’d like to get better at it. If you feel your teamwork skills could use some improvement, consider the following list of tips that can help you make a good impression on both your boss and your team.

A team are in a room together and working on a project; three people are sitting at a table and paying attention to another person writing on a whiteboard.
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Tip #1: Avoid complaining

Complaining is rarely something that benefits either you or the person it’s directed to. It can be challenging to deal with someone who complains, even if the complaints are valid. Why? Because complaining doesn't necessarily invite change. If you have concerns or frustrations that you’d like to voice, it may be more productive to find ways to do so that aren’t entirely focused on the problem itself. Experts believe that positive thinking and attitudes can have an impact on our mental and physical well-being, so avoiding complaints may also help you dodge unnecessary stress.

Tip #2: Don’t argue over who gets the credit

A win for the team is just that: a win for the team. Bickering with your peers over who should get the credit for a job well done typically does nothing for anyone. While it’s valid to want recognition for your work, being on a team often includes achieving success with others. 

Tip #3: Communicate efficiently

Communication can be both the savior and the downfall of every relationship. This is true whether that relationship is rooted in business or is more personal.

Research suggests that effective communication can be a crucial part of organizational growth and change. If you don't communicate clearly with one another, you and your team will likely find it hard to achieve things. 

Good teams tend to express ideas and are open to feedback, both positive and constructive. They may not always agree, but that's what brainstorming is for.

You might try to make the most out of the communication method through which your team communicates the best. Some teams communicate well face to face, while others communicate better via email and messenger programs, where they have time to gather their thoughts. 

Another effective way to foster communication has nothing at all to do with business. Spending time getting to know one another might help break down some of the walls that seem to separate you and others on your team. Consider going out to lunch together, hosting a fun activity, or planning another social event. As you get to know each other better, you will likely feel more equipped to hear each other out and be open to working together.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh

Tip #4: Lay down some ground rules

Laying down some rules for team meetings can go a long way toward preventing frustration later on. For example, are you tired of your team checking their cell phones or laptops when you're trying to express an important idea? If so, your team might decide not to use electronic devices during meetings. This might help everyone to remain present and ready to listen.

Some other rules to consider involve protocols regarding after-hours contact (for example, you can only call each other after hours if it's an emergency). You can also promise to be open with each other about any frustrations or disagreements you may have with one another. It's often better to get them out as they happen rather than letting them fester and blow up later on.

Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to show excitement

Suppose a great idea occurred to you this morning for a project you've been working on with your team. It's such a great idea that you feel giddy about it. When this happens, you can express this happiness with your team. If you are unable to control your excitement, your team might get excited, too. An entire team that's passionate about an idea can move forward strong and united.

Tip #6: Address concerns in person

Try not to say anything in an email that you wouldn't say to your teammates’ faces. Email and chat should primarily be used as a way to communicate information, not discuss serious or sensitive topics like workplace disputes.

If a situation presents itself that must be addressed, such as a teammate’s behavior or the delivery of sensitive news, it’s typically best to speak in person if possible. Not only does this give the other person a chance to listen and respond, but it also may lessen the likelihood of either party using language that doesn’t truly reflect how they feel. 

Getty/AnnaStills
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Tip #7: Celebrate your team's achievements

Even if your boss isn't the type to reward your team for a job well done, you can celebrate achievements with your team. For example, you might bring in pizza for lunch the next day as a way of thanking your coworkers for their help in completing a big project. 

Recognizing the good your team does can be just as important as pointing out the areas where they could improve. Good morale often goes a long way in motivating your team to keep doing a good job, and it may even help you foster friendships. Taking the lead in terms of promoting a positive attitude around the workplace may inspire others to do the same, which can benefit the entire team. 

Get help with teamwork skills

While these tips can help improve teamwork in most cases, sometimes you might face a challenge that lies well outside common knowledge or your expertise. In these cases, you might speak with a counselor with experience in team-building and workplace concerns. If you don’t have much time due to work obligations, you might try online counseling, which research has shown to be just as effective as in-office counseling. 

With BetterHelp, you can engage in sessions completely remotely via phone or video chat. Because you can speak with a therapist from the office, your car, or wherever else makes sense, you can incorporate your sessions into a busy schedule. 

Takeaway

Building your teamwork skills is often a matter of practice and small, easy changes to your habits. Being positive and inviting, understanding that teams include give and take, and communicating clearly can all be great ways to get started. For further help, you can be matched with a licensed counselor with experience helping people build teamwork skills. Take the first step to improvement in this area and contact BetterHelp.

Build healthy teamwork skills with a professional

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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