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Teamwork: How teams achieve more together

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“Teamwork makes the dream work”, for example: “Teamwork makes the dream come true”, is a well-known American phrase. It is an example of the high priority that companies attach to working in teams. If implemented correctly, there are many advantages and it makes it clear that a team is more than the sum of its members. We show what is important in proper teamwork, what prerequisites are required and how employees and companies benefit from it ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what is teamwork?

The Anglicism teamwork generally describes the joint work of at least two people on tasks and projects. Typical synonyms are group work and team work. Comprehensive teamwork is even more than that: Behind it there is a form of work, a way of thinking and an attitude towards cooperation. What is good teamwork? It fulfills several characteristics:

  • Develop a feeling of we
    A big difference between pure cooperation and real teamwork is the sense of togetherness. When those involved actually feel a sense of belonging and solidarity, colleagues grow together into a functioning team.
  • Provide support
    Teamwork means support and complementarity. The strengths of each employee should be used in a targeted and active manner - at the same time the team can compensate for individual weaknesses. The cooperation is only really successful when the profiles of the team members mesh like cogs.
  • solve problems
    This support is not purely altruistic. It enables problems to be solved and the team as a whole to move forward.
  • Communicate information
    Another crucial point in teamwork is communication: misunderstandings can only be avoided if everyone is up to date. Good communication enables more innovation, effectiveness and overall greater corporate success.
  • Focus on goals
    As a team, everyone involved develops common goals, even if teamwork and competition are not mutually exclusive. But only as an incentive and without losing sight of the common goal.
  • Focus on success
    Success is closely related to this. If team members are ready not only to see their own success, but also to work for the team's success, real teamwork can arise.

7 tips for better teamwork at work

Real teamwork is not easy to order. However, companies, supervisors and employees themselves can help create teamwork. The following tips will help:

1. Promote mutual trust

Trust enables teamwork. A study by Harvard University showed that if employees feel insecure or not taken seriously, they withdraw. If the team trusts each other, it exchanges ideas and discusses suggestions respectfully and constructively.

2. Create common goals

Teamwork cannot develop if all colleagues only work side by side, everyone only thinks about their own tasks and pursues individual goals. Instead, everyone has to act as team players. You set common goals and pursue them as a team. It must be clear how each individual contributes to the overall result and how the big picture emerges from the various individual tasks.

3. Choose team members wisely

A common misconception: teamwork works best when everyone in the team thinks and works in the same way as possible. However, this is wrong. This enables harmonious cooperation. The best teamwork comes from diversity, when different approaches and ways of working come together. In this way, really new ideas arise, errors can be discovered more quickly and skills complement each other perfectly.

4. Be aware of the size of the team

How well group work works depends to a large extent on the size of the team. Experts believe that the optimal team size is five to eight people - if more employees are involved in a project, teamwork suffers. Instead of productivity, there are constant discussions, differences of opinion, difficulties with responsibility or some individuals feel left out.

5. Deepen professional relationships

Colleagues don't have to become best friends for teamwork to work. However, it can help to get to know the other employees better, to build a good relationship with them and thus to strengthen the feeling of cohesion. This creates sympathy, trust and increases teamwork. Approach your colleagues, meet up after work or do something as a team.

6. Clarify tasks and responsibilities

Good teamwork requires clear agreements. Otherwise, some tasks remain unfinished, while with others duplicate responsibilities lead to team conflicts. Communication is therefore an important success factor for teamwork, so that everyone knows exactly which parts of the project they are responsible for and which role they are taking on in the team.

7. Work closely together

Cooperation is a core element of teamwork. Nevertheless, specialists often work on individual tasks. This is especially true if these subtasks require great concentration and the distraction from other team members would be counterproductive. When teamwork is lived, the feeling of belonging is preserved. Managers should also pay attention to the physical proximity: according to studies, this has a positive effect on teamwork.

Advantages and disadvantages of teamwork


As soon as everyone pulls together, teamwork can be realized. Then teams can benefit from several advantages:

  • More satisfaction

    The social environment is an important factor for satisfaction - not only in private life, but also at work. A study showed: Almost 90 percent of Generation Y want teamwork instead of competition. Functioning teamwork in the workplace ensures that employees are more satisfied with their professional situation, have more fun at work, work more motivated and, in the end, are also more loyal to their employer.

  • Better performance

    With the team effect, productivity can be increased by 10 to 20 percent - the results of examinations vary depending on the task. The reasons: Together, the team members achieve a higher working speed. There are fewer interruptions and the combination of strengths improves the overall result. In addition, the above-mentioned satisfaction increases motivation and thus also performance.

  • Greater loyalty

    Working together at work is often the cause of conflicts, arguments and problems. The better the teamwork in the workplace, the easier it is to get rid of such problems or to prevent them straight away. In surveys, many employees who are willing to change cite a bad working atmosphere as the reason for changing jobs. As teamwork increases, so does the loyalty of employees. Not only with the employer, but also with colleagues. In a good team everyone is ready to stand up for the other.


Where there is light, there is also shadow. Teamwork can also have less positive sides. Especially when the manager disregards certain team rules in the form of the tips above.

  • Bad distribution of tasks

    Teamwork means that the teams distribute the tasks among themselves. But the best qualified person does not always get the right job. A less qualified employee can therefore not deliver the best possible quality.

  • Bigger effort

    The larger the team, the more difficult it is to agree and coordinate. This takes more time and, if implemented incorrectly, can mean that competencies and responsibilities are unclear. Under certain circumstances, important tasks then remain unfinished because nobody feels responsible.

  • Group dynamic processes

    Different phenomena can be observed depending on the personality. The social comparison is typical for group dynamics: In order to distinguish themselves (for example for a promotion), some team members try to excel in individual tasks and play themselves in the foreground.

    The opposite is also conceivable: Since individual achievements disappear behind the overall result, some lay in the spiritual hammock. The effect described by Maximilien Ringelmann is also known as social loafing. It causes worse team results than would actually be possible.

4 mistakes that often hinder teamwork

In addition to numerous tips on how to improve teamwork, there are unfortunately also the exact opposite at many workplaces: mistakes that make teamwork difficult or in some cases even almost impossible. If team leaders pay attention, teamwork can be improved and the entire corporate culture can be geared towards greater collaboration:

Individual services are in the foreground

It is important and necessary to praise good work by employees - but this must also apply to teamwork. Unfortunately, this part is often forgotten. If the group achieves success, managers should focus on this in an equally appreciative way.

Information seeps away

In teamwork - ideally - everyone involved should have access to all relevant information. However, these are usually first sent to individual employees. Therefore, companies should work on possibilities and communication channels to bring the entire team up to date with important innovations. Meetings are a common variant of this. However, these should then be brief and really only contain those people who need to know about the information.

Decisions take too long

If teamwork is overdone, this can lead to a standstill. The team doesn’t make decisions, it just keeps discussing. A big mistake, especially when quick action is required. The right way of thinking is important here: Even with teamwork, everyone involved should continue to take responsibility and make decisions themselves.

Alternatives are not taken into account

It sounds contradictory at first, but for successful teamwork, the individual team members need the opportunity to work alone and for themselves. Not every task requires collaborative processing. Sometimes you need a place for calm and concentration where one employee can advance the project on his own. Teamwork benefits from phases of individual work as long as the common goal remains in view, communication is right and everyone pulls together.

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