Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Teamwork skills are an employable trait that most recruiters desire as it shows your ability to collaborate with others effectively. Developing your teamwork skills will empower you to share your thoughts and ideas with your colleagues. It will also motivate your team to go beyond set expectations. In this article, we discuss what teamwork skills are, why they are important, the six essential teamwork skills and how to improve and measure them in your organisation.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a CV

What are teamwork skills?

Teamwork skills are the behaviours and abilities you employ to collaborate with other professionals towards a shared goal. Since teamwork is a highly social function of a business, these skills consist of a variety of interpersonal skills. Effective teamwork skills connote your ability to communicate well, actively listen and take on responsibility. A team that works in synchronisation together is more likely to succeed. Thus, teamwork skills determine your team dynamics and efficiency.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Why are teamwork skills important?

Teamwork skills are important in building cohesion and harmony within a group. The following describes the benefits of good teamwork skills in the workplace:

Fosters healthy working relationships

Applying good teamwork skills when collaborating with your coworkers will make them feel a sense of belonging. Speaking politely and listening to each other's ideas shows respect, despite their rank or age. This is important because it empowers your coworkers to speak up. When each of your coworkers are active participants in your team, you are more likely to identify challenges and come up with innovative solutions. Upholding good teamwork skills leads to a healthy and happy work environment.

Safeguards against miscommunication

The key to preventing miscommunication is communication. When you employ effective teamwork skills, you ensure that each team member is on the same page. This means checking in on your coworkers regularly and being open to any questions regarding the project. Instilling a positive attitude within your team is essential to the flow of information.

Boosts productivity

When your team members are working cohesively, you can achieve more together. Good teamwork skills increase your productivity as a team. Professionals that have a good working relationship with their coworkers are more motivated. They look out for their well-being and support them during a challenge. As a result, they can pool their strengths together to push the boundaries of innovation.

Increases your employability

Business is a highly social environment. It requires the collaboration of professionals to achieve organisational objectives. Thus, recruiters are more likely to hire you if you demonstrate good teamwork skills. This tells them you are easy to work with and can integrate into a team smoothly. It's an essential skill that helps employers maintain a peaceful work environment.

What are the six teamwork skills?

The following are six essential teamwork skills to facilitate a healthy group dynamic:

Communication skills

Communication skills are the verbal and nonverbal cues you display to share information. It's an important teamwork skill that ensures your colleagues understand your instructions, while still feeling heard and valued. Excellent communication skills include your ability to articulate your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Use a polite yet authoritative tone of voice that shows confidence in your expertise and regard for others. Pay attention to nonverbal cues, such as your body language and facial expressions, so that you can present yourself as an approachable team player.

Attentive listening

Attentive listening is an important teamwork skill that shows your appreciation for your coworkers. Simple behaviours, such as nodding while another person talks and not interrupting them, will convey that you are a courteous professional. Adhering closely to good attentive listening skills will empower your team members to share their concerns and creative ideas.

Adaptability

In business, adaptability is a crucial skill that allows you to remain calm despite changing circumstances. It's also an important teamwork skill because it helps your team adjust in the face of a challenge and move on from a setback. Adaptability safeguards against groupthink, which is when team members strive for consensus and ignore other viable approaches. This way, you will feel more prepared to tackle a crisis together and restore harmony.

Trust and respect

To create a sense of belonging in your team, you need to show appreciation for their differences. Identify their unique talents and trust them with responsibility. Even when they fail, give your coworkers constructive feedback and empower them to try again. This way, your team members will trust each other, even in a difficult situation.

To earn the respect of your coworkers, treat them with respect, too. They will appreciate your integrity and strive to align themselves with your ethical principles.

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Emotional intelligence

Research shows that teams who are high in emotional intelligence work well together. This is an important skill because it connotes your ability to understand the emotions of others and support them in times of need. This fosters a healthy team dynamic, an integral component of productivity.

Accountability

You will make mistakes in your career. However, it's the way you carry yourself in these difficult situations that make a difference. This is especially important in a team dynamic, where one unintentional error could impact your other team members. In these instances, accountability is vital. It shows your integrity and builds trust within your team.

How to improve teamwork skills

Here are a few steps to help you improve your teamwork skills:

1. Get honest feedback from your coworkers

Ask your coworkers for advice on how they feel when you interact with them. As an essential team member, their observations are valuable to your skills development. Actively work on their advice as this will not only make you a more capable team player but also shows respect for your coworker's insights.

2. Set personal goals

Use your own observations and your coworker's feedback on your strengths and weaknesses to create clear goals to improve your teamwork skills. Common teamwork skills goals include trying not to interrupt when others are talking or to speak up more in meetings. Try to break down larger goals into smaller milestones so that they are more attainable.

3. Actively practise teamwork skills in your daily duties

Now that you have identified areas for improvement, actively practice your goals during your daily duties. This way, you will form a habit of performing specific teamwork skills.

How to teach teamwork skills

Review the following techniques to track teamwork skills among your colleagues:

1. Be a good example

Being a sound role model of productive teamwork skills will inspire your team members to act out the same traits and values. For example, if you speak to them with kindness, they are more likely to treat others the same way, too. This is especially important if you are in a leadership position. The way you behave sets the tone for what is acceptable in your workplace.

2. Assign clear roles

Identify the skills and experience of each of your team members and assign them a clear role. This will help develop your group's teamwork skills because it gives each individual a sense of responsibility and accountability. It will help you delegate tasks, establish areas of expertise and collaborate in a more efficient manner.

3. Create a team guidelines document

Establish a set of rules and expectations for your team. Present them in a document so that your coworkers can refer to them as needed. Identify the values you want your team to build a foundation on, such as trust, integrity and accountability. Create a set of procedures for them to follow in a crisis.

4. Host a social games night

You can work on your team dynamic outside of the workplace, too. Hosting a games night before the weekend can help you train your teamwork skills in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Board games and interactive puzzles are great tools to facilitate collaboration.

How to measure teamwork skills

The following are a few methods to effectively measure your teamwork skills:

1. Analyse decision-making capability

In a high-performing team, all members contribute equally. When things go wrong, it's usually because the team relies on a single individual to make all the decisions, there are too many dominant personalities or the team has fallen into groupthink. If you see any of these warning signs, gather your team together to find ways to improve your teamwork skills.

2. Measure your productivity in terms of project goals

A successful team is more productive and can achieve project goals in a timely and efficient manner. You can measure your teamwork skills by examining whether you work together at a sustainable pace and produce quality work. Teams that do not work well often have a chaotic atmosphere and leave their tasks to the last minute.

3. Examine your team's sense of accountability

A strong team holds themselves and others to the same performance standards. They enforce these standards without the need of a manager because their motivated internally to perform well. Here are some measures to help you gauge your team's engagement:

  • Do your coworkers show up for work on time?

  • Are they well-prepared for meetings?

  • Do they put their team members' needs above their own?

  • Do they pass on the blame to someone else?

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