What does teamwork look like

TeamworkCharacteristics of good teamwork

Companies want to be flexible and powerful and they want to use the knowledge and experience that different employees bring to their team. For this reason, superiors look for "team-minded employees" in job advertisements. A distinction can be made between:

  • work in groups: Several employees are permanently combined in a group as a team. They have a common goal and common tasks. They usually have a high degree of freedom of action and decision-making and are led by a group speaker or a group leader.
  • Project team: Several employees - mostly from different departments - work together for a limited period of time in order to cope with a special, novel or one-off task. The project team is led by a project manager and disbanded after the end of the project.

When a team is a team

Experts are still arguing about when a team is really a team. If several employees are referred to as a "team" in an organization chart, this formal distinction should not yet constitute a "real team". The following Characteristics of group or team work are considered essential:

  • Several people work closely together. That means: They communicate a lot with each other, coordinate, exchange information, work on some tasks together and represent each other if necessary.
  • They have common goals, values ​​and rules of cooperation for working together.
  • It is characterized by a “we-feeling”.
  • They independently divide the tasks and activities among themselves, they organize themselves.

A team is a group of two to twenty people. They have common goals and tasks and work together according to functional aspects. For this they have suitable forms of work, intensive interactions with one another and a more or less strong community spirit.

How working in a team is defined

Some speak of group work, others of teamwork. The concept of teamwork expresses the idea of ​​working together and the will to achieve a goal together more strongly. It suggests higher performance. In practice, however, both terms are often used synonymously. Other terms for working in a group or team are, depending on the focus of the task and the duration of the collaboration: quality circle, learning workshop, workshop circle or value analysis team.

Employees in the company see themselves less and less as individual individuals; they perceive their own work as a contribution to a community. You are part of a group of people who share a common goal. To do this, they work more or less intensively and regularly with their colleagues. That is why they often see themselves as a team and their tasks as teamwork.

What is criticized about teamwork

Critics complain that teamwork has already become fashionable, and some companies try to delegate all tasks to teams without critically checking whether this is really better in order to achieve the goals in the respective area and to simplify processes. Because there are still many tasks that can be done faster and better by individual employees. Critics also point to the so-called Ringelmann effect and social laziness. The Frenchman Max Ringelmann found out over a hundred years ago that people unconsciously hold back in a group. There is a risk that employees in the group do less than if they just did their work alone in their office. The short formula for this is: TEAM. - Great, someone else will do it.

What are the goals and advantages of teamwork

Despite all the criticism, teamwork has some advantages that contribute to the success of the company. It is important that goals are formulated that are to be achieved through teamwork. Then there are the advantages of teamwork. These are:

  • The planning and control effort for superiors is reduced because the teams work independently.
  • Teams react more flexibly to changing requirements.
  • The knowledge and experience of different employees are better used and integrated.
  • The creativity to solve problems and master tasks is increased when different types of employees work together in a team.
  • The flow of information and communication within the team are usually better.
  • The participants' understanding of the problem grows; they know the goals, working methods and backgrounds of decisions and can direct their actions accordingly.
  • Employees recognize that they have more freedom and can make decisions and push things forward.
  • Employees identify more strongly with the company.
  • The employees learn to support one another.
  • The goals of the company and the team become more demanding over time; partly also through a competition between teams.
  • Job satisfaction and employee motivation increase.

Good teamwork considerations

Review the forms of teamwork in your company:

  • Where do you use teams in your company to carry out tasks?
  • In your opinion, which factors are important for teamwork to work?

Review characteristics of good teamwork

Describe the team or workgroup whose prerequisites for success you want to check. Then use the characteristics of good teamwork to clarify:

  • In what form are the individual characteristics of good teamwork given in your company or in your team?
  • How do you determine this in your team?
  • Where are there deficits?
  • What can you improve?

For a list of the characteristics of good teamwork, see the template below.

In order for teamwork to work, you have to create certain prerequisites in your company or clarify to what extent these are given. In the following section of this manual, you can read what you should pay attention to.