How to Improve Teamwork

Do you often wish you could improve teamwork on your project team?  You may notice that people or groups don’t work together.  It may seem as if they are working in opposition to each other.  This doesn’t help you when you have a project to deliver.

Why there are opposite views of what the world looks like

Teams isolated from each other function in silos. The result of this is that most teams or team members have no idea what others do and how or if what they do, impacts these others.

People see the world through their own filters, a very narrowed view of the world or the organization as it exists. When this happens it creates problems, especially as it relates to project delivery.

If you don’t have everyone on the project team with a full understanding of what the end result is for delivery they won’t all be working for the same outcome.

improve teamwork

How do you improve teamwork?

“There is no “I” in team”. A cliched saying I know and yet it is true.  To change this first realize that the team is functioning as individuals.

You begin to improve teamwork by bringing the group together as a team. A team is a group of individuals with different skill sets and knowledge working together for the desired outcome.

The outcome for you is successful project delivery. How do you take the best knowledge and skills of each team member and use that to support your desired outcome?

Facilitate information gathering sessions

One way is to facilitate information gathering sessions. I’ve successfully used these when we had an issue to resolve. Bring individual team members together.  Map out the issue or problem and ask each of them for their input as to how they would resolve the problem.

This way you find that each team member hears the others point of view.  Each team member gains awareness of the skill set and knowledge of those present in the room. Information and knowledge sharing occurs unintentionally.

By facilitating information gathering sessions you improve teamwork by bringing people together for a common reason. They each get to participate as individuals and see how their skill set adds to the evolution of teamwork.

Why there is value in gaining an understanding of each others skill sets

I’ve often found that facilitating information gathering has led to team members working more collaboratively together after the session.  They no longer only see their view of the world. Their narrowed vision tends to expand.

They now have a connection into the other group via the individual they interacted with. This tends to lead to greater collaboration across the board, moving forward.

Individuals will utilize the skill sets of others as they are now more aware of the skills others hold. Often these skills meld with what they know or fill gaps of what they don’t.

Create a more interactive sense of team

You improve teamwork when you create a more interactive sense of ‘team.’  People working together to achieve the desired outcome.

Team members seeing the value in others skills and abilities is one way. Opening up team members understanding and knowledge of the total or big picture environment in which they are operating takes them out of their siloed way of thinking.

I call this ‘getting everyone on the same page.’  Show individuals working on the project how what THEY do impacts on the broader project outcomes.

Have them involved in meetings where their insight or skill will add value to the discussion. When you encourage team members to work together you facilitate a stronger sense of team.

When you improve teamwork you positively impact the project’s outcome. That’s what you want ultimately, a successfully delivered project.

Listen to this podcast episode for other ways to improve teamwork.