This wiki article provides a comprehensive overview of successful teamwork. It is crucial especially for project managers to understand the importance of teamwork for companies, as successful teamwork not only benefits the performance of a team or a project but also improves employee satisfaction and happiness. So it is essential to know about the factors that affect the success of teams.
After a brief introduction about the definition of teams, this article dives into individual attributes, interpersonal attributes and team attributes that are enhancing teamwork. The individual attributes are factors that each individual should bring, they include Individual willingness, Individual competencies, Positive attitude and mindset, Openness to feedback, and Accountability. The interpersonal attributes are characteristics of interactions between the team members: Relationships, Trust, Respect, Collaboration and Cooperation, and Cohesion. And finally the team attributes are elements that are linked to the team as a whole. These are Common goal, Team composition, Common values, and Clear roles and work distribution. The article describes these attributes to emphasize the importance of understanding each facette of a successful team.
Finally the article provide a literature research about a common uses model that describes factors of successful teamwork in a different way.
Importance of Teamwork and its benefits
Teamwork plays an important role in many aspects of our lives. Research shows that teamwork can improve the performance and the outcomes in a lot of diferent areas, for instance, the workplace, education, and in sports. In the workplace, effective teamwork can improve organizational performance, increase job satisfaction, and reduce employee turnovers. Additionally, teamwork is very important to achieving learning goals and developing the skills that are needed to succeed in the job. Cooperative learning activities in school can increase student engagement, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Likewise, teamwork in sports can improve the team performance drastically and even improve individual performance such as communication or the interpersonal performances like better cohesion among the team members.
Teamwork is especially important to organizational success because it increases productivity, quality and innovation, it encourages creativity and it improves problem-solving skills. It refers to individuals working together toward a common goal, putting their resources, skills, knowledges, and experiences together, resulting in greater efficiency and better decision-making.
When it comes to innovative projects, the quality of teamwork is an important indicatior for the success of thr projects. That makes teamwork a vital factor in organizations. Project management success depends on the effectiveness and efficiency of the project team, so teamwork plays a major role in project, portfolio, and program management.
With time teams have become more complex and dynamic, and success requires new and innovative ways to lead, communicate and collaborate: In today's rapidly changing work environment, traditional team research and practice may no longer be sufficient, so teamwork is essential for organizations to adapt and evolve and remain competitive in today's workplace. Therefore, it is very important to create a positive team environment that increases the team performance.
Definition of a "Team"
In order to understand the importance of teamwork it is first necessary to clarify the definition of a team, because not all groups are necessarily a team.
A team is a group of multiple individuals who come together to achieve a common and shared goal. The team members may have complementary and interdependent skills and maybe even hierarchical positions. The team is structured in a task-oriented manner, meaning clear tasks are assigned and it has a clear focus on achieving the shared goals. They work collaboratively and communicate both within and outside the team to accomplish their objectives and goals. Teamwork requires a certain level of team identity, which is different from individual identities, meaning that the members stand for what they are doing. This can be seen as an emotional bond to the team and among the team members and it is often considered as a crucial aspect of a team that distinguishes it from a group. This emotional bond is characterized by strong relationships, a sense of community, and a high level of group cohesion.
Successful team collaboration also involves the distribution of work based on different areas of expertise, a specific role allocation, and an increasing sense of belonging among team members. The motivation to work as a team and the opportunity to combine different ideas and experiences can lead to a higher quality of overall team performance, which can surpass the cumulative individual performances.
The definition of a team and the indicators for successful teamwork often overlap, so a precise definition is difficult to make. Some of these characteristics of a team are also indicators for the success of the team.
Elements of successful teamwork
When it comes to teamwork it is very important to understand the factors that influence the success of the teamwork. Especially in project management, it is crucial for the manager to understand how to make the team's performance as efficient as possible. Indicators for successful teamwork can be divided into three categories: Individual attributes, Interpersonal attributes, and Team attributes. Individual attributes are characteristics that each team member should have. For a project manager, these could be criteria for choosing people in their group. The interpersonal attributes explain how team members interact with each other, which is of course a crucial part of the performance of a team. If individuals can't work well together the team performance suffers. The team attributes describe the characteristics of the team as a whole and not the individuals and these attributes are very specific for each case.
The willingness of individual team members to collaborate, contribute their best efforts, learn and adapt is a critical factor in for the succes of a team. Even with all the necessary skills, knowledge, resources and experiences, a lack of willingness can prevent a team from being efficient. This willingness is vital for creating an environment of trust among each other, openness, and cooperation that encoiurages teamwork. When team members are willing to communicate openly, share knowledge and experience, take on additional responsibilities, and be proactive, they can inspire others to do the same. That leads to a higher level of engagement and especially commitment, and in the end it leads to higher performance. In contrast, a lack of willingness can hinder a team to achieve its goals and undermine its success.
Individual competencies are essential for a team's success. They can be divided into technical, soft, and leadership competencies. Technical competencies are the skills, experience, and knowledge of each member in their own specification or field. These are necessary to achieve the team's objectives. Soft competencies such as communication or problem-solving are important for successful collaboration. Each team member brings unique competencies that can contribute to the team's overall performance. Strong soft competencies help avoid conflicts, communicate better, and work collaboratively towards a shared goal. Finally the leadership competencies can guide the team towards its objectives, manage conflicts, and create a positive work environment that encourges innovation and creativity.
Positive attitude and mindset
Having a positive attitude and a positive mindset is another factor for a team's success. It can foster trust, communication, collaboration, and creativity among the team members which leads to a more positive work environment. Positive attitudes increase motivation on the one hand and reduce stress on the other hand. Maintaining a positive mindset also means that individuals learn from mistakes, accept a certain vulnerability, and that they are open to constructive criticism. Finally a positive work environment, attitude and mindset can increase productivity, promote innovation, and ultimately help the team achieve its comon goals.
Openness to feedback
Another essential factor for the success of teams is being receptive to feedback. Implementing and especially acknowledging feedback can improve the communication and build up trust among the team members. Through continuous feedback a continuous growth can be achieved. The ability to receive feedback with an open mind and willingness to learn from the feedback can enhance a team's capabilities to solve problems and increase the chances of achieving shared objectives. In contrast, a lack of openness to feedback can lead to conflict, mistrust, and an overall negative work environment. Teams that appreciate feedback and create a safespace for constructive criticism can improve team performance and achieve better outcomes.
The success of a team is also depended on the accountability of the team members. Each team member should take responsibility for their role in achieving the team's goals. Accountability requires individuals to be reliable, honest, and committed to do their jobs. When team members are accountable, they are willing to acknowledge mistakes and learn from them. They hold themselves accountable for their actions and don't blame others for their own mistakes. For an effective accountability a clear communication and clear expectations are necessary. Ultimately, individual accountability creates an environment of trust and respect which enhances the team's overall performance.
When team members build strong relationships, they are more likely to comunicate better, trust each another more, and collaborate better. Good relationships between team members makes them enjoying the time together which results in a positive work environment and increase job satisfaction, which can then improve team productivity and overall the success. Attributes like trust and respect are correlated to the relationships.
The better the communication, the more successful a teamwork is. The ability to provide ideas and information clearly, listen actively and process the information helps teams work more efficiently and make better decisions. A failure in the communication can cause complete failure of a team. The communication can vary between team members. Some combination of individuals might have a good communication while others can have a bad communication between each other. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and delays in completing tasks. Therefore, it is important for team members to establish clear communication channels and protocols.
Trusting each other helps team members work effectively together, which leads to better results. Trust correlates strongly with the relationship among the team members. Teams which trust each other are more likely to share knowledge, give honest fedback, and work collaboratively towards the same goals. This is very important when it comes to decision making processes, where trust is needed for open and honest communication. Trust is also important in creating a positve team dynamic, where team members have their safe zone and feel secure in their relationships to each other. Without trust, teams might struggle to work effectively and miss their goals. Therefore, trust building strategies should be a priority for any team looking to improve their performance.
Respect is like trust, correlated with the relationship among the team members and it is another very important factor for the success of teamwork. It enables the individuals to listen and acknowledge each others ideas and perspectives and fosters a sense of inclusion. Teams that have a culture o respect create an environment where everybody feels safe to express their opinions, to take risks, and to make mistakes without the fear of getting blamed. Such an environment encourages creativity and innovation, which then lead to a higher team performance.
Collaboration and cooperation
Collaboration and Cooperation are as well essential for successfull teamwork. The collaboration and cooperation can be affected by previous mentioned attributes. Collaboration means workingtogtether to achieve your own goals while collaboration means working together towards the same goal. In terms of teams collaborations is often the right term, but also cooperation within a team can happen, for example if individuals hamve their own goals apart of the common shared goal. Without collaboration or cooperation the team members would work individually and not together, which decreases the productivity.
Cohesion is the unity and the mutual support among team members. This attribute as well is correlated to the relationship among the team members. HIgher cohesion results in more motivating team members, so its linked to higher levels of team performance, job satisfaction, and commitment. Cohesion can be archieved through different ways, like team-building activities or developing a sense of belongingness among team members. Although it is important to mention, that high cohesion can also be a obstacle in some situations, as it can lead to group thinking and a resistance to change. Therefore, project maangers should try to find a balance between promoting cohesion and encouraging constructive dissent and diverse perspectives.
As already mentioned in the definition of a team, a common goal is essential for successful teamwork. It provides the direction and especially the purpose for the team. When team members share a common vision, each person is motivated and committed individually archive it. The team's common goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and the scope should be clear. Without a clear common goal, team members may have different priorities and work in different directions, which can lead to confusion and hinder the performance of the team.
The composition of a team is a important factor for successful teamwork. The composition of the team must be aligned with the different tasks, ensuring that the right people are in the right positions. Diverse backgrounds and experiences of the individuals can bring different perspectives and ideas which enhaces the creativity and problem-solving abilities of the team. On the other hand too different personalities can be an obstacle because they could have very different working styles which could result in conflicts. It is important to find the right balance and make ensure a positive team atmosphere. Therefore, carefully considering the team composition can lead to a more effective and successful team.
When team members share the same values, it creates a sense of unity and it leads to a positiv work environment. Comon values help team members to work towards a common goal which makes it easier to make decisions and solve problems as a team. Sharing the same values also leads to higher trust in each other and higher motivation. Teams that have clearly defined and shared values are probably more likely to be successful in achieving their goals.
Identification and emotional bond
Identification with the team and emotional bond to the team are another important attribute for the success of a team. When team members identify with their team and feel emotionally attached to their team, they are more motivated, more committed and more loyal to their teams. This leads to higher performance of the team. The emotional bond is something that can be build up with time and shared experiences.
Clear roles and work distribution
To clarify the roles in a team and to distribute the work task makes a team more successful as well. Well defined roles mean clear responsibilities for different tasks and people, and the team members know exactly what is expected of them. By a fair work distribution it can be ensured, that each member is contributing to the success. In contrast, no roles or no work distribution could lead to confusion and inefficient performance, since the same people might do the same tasks.
The Input-Process-Output (IPO) model is a commonly used model in the literature to understand the factors that influence the success and the performance of teams. The model dviides team work into three categories: Input, Process, and Output. The Input category are variables that are preconditions for the teamwork. These variables can either make successful teamwork easier or hinder it. But they are always a limiting factor for the team process. The team proces refers to the process that transforms the input variables into a result. This process takes places within the team, leading to a specific outcome. The outcome or output is the result of the teamwork and it includes material outcomes that are measurable based on the objectives, and non physical results such as group moral or personal developement.
In the literature can be mainly found three IPO models: Hackmann and Morris model, Dick and West's model and Högl and Gemünden's model.
The IPO model, developed by Hackmann and Morris, divides input into individual, group, and environmental factors. The individual and group factors are described as group composition in the model by Dick and West, and as team composition in the model by Högl and Gemünden. These factors include characteristics that individulaa members bring to the team, such as social and technical competence, preference for teamwork, and education and background, as well as group characteristics such as group size, homogenity of knowledge, and heterogeneity among members. The t heterogenity refers, for example, to the age, the religion, or the education, because diversity in experiences and knowledge can contribute to the solution finding process. Environmental factors represent external influences, such as the cultural and organizational context in which the team works in Dick and West's model.
The process, according to Hackmann and Morris and Dick and West, consists of interaction between members. The following factors are relevant to this process: communication, task coordination, balance of contributions, mutual support, work norms, cohesion, participation, autonomy, and decision making. The output consists of performance related results, characterized by effectiveness, efficiency, and quantity. Effectiveness describes the extent to which the goal has been archieved and can be equated with quality. Additionally, results related to team moral and personal development during teamwork are considered. Assuming that teamwork is not limited to one project, non physical factors that affect the potential for future collaboration are also important. These include personal learning and satisfaction or team vitality.
- Barkley, E., Major, C., & Cross, P. (2014). Collaborative Learning Techniques (2nd ed.). Wiley. 
- Becker, J. H., Pastoors, S., & Ebert, H. (2017). Praxishandbuch berufliche Schlüsselkompetenzen. 50 Handlungskompetenzen für Ausbildung, Studium und Beruf (1. Aufl.). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 
- Belbin, R. M. (2010). Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (3rd edition). Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann 
- Bornemann, S. (2012). Kooperation und Kollaboration. Das Kreative Feld als Weg zu innovativer Teamarbeit (1. Aufl.). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 
- Burba, M. (2018). Erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit in Projektteams. Analyse der Projektmeetings bei einem Automobilhersteller (1. Aufl.). Springer 
- DuBrin, A. J. (2010). Essentials of Management (10th edition). South-Western Cengage Learning 
- Hackman, J. R. (2002). Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances. Harvard Business Press 
- Hackman, J. R., & Wageman, R. (2005). A theory of team coaching. Academy of Management Review, 30(2), 269-287
- Hoegl, G., & Gemuenden, H. G. (2001). Teamwork quality and the success of innovative projects: A theoretical concept and empirical evidence. Organization Science, 12(4), 435-449 
- Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (2005). The discipline of teams. Harvard business review, 83(7/8), 162-171 
- Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (1993). The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. Harvard Business School Press 
- Kerzner, H. (2017). Project Management. A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. Wiley, 12th edition. 
- Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Jossey-Bass. 
- Lippmann, E., Pfister, A., & Urs, J. (2019). Handbuch Angewandte Psychologie für Führungskräfte. Führungskompetenzen und Führungswissen (5. Aufl.). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 
- Mathieu, J. E., Maynard, M. T., Rapp, T., & Gilson, L. L. (2008). Team effectiveness 1997-2007: A review of recent advancements and a glimpse into the future. Journal of Management, 34(3), 410-476. 
- Nerdinger, F. W., Blickle, G., & Schaper, N. (2011). Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie (2. Aufl.). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 
- Robbins, S. P. (2001). Organizational behavior (9th ed.). Prentice Hall. 
- Salas, E., Sims, D. E., & Burke, C. S. (2005). Is there a "big five" in teamwork?. Small group research, 36(5), 555-599. 
- Tannenbaum, S. I., Mathieu, J. E., Salas, E., & Cohen, D. (2012). Teams are changing: Are research and practice evolving fast enough?. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 5(1), 2-24. 
- Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384-399 
- ↑ https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/20/8753
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Mathieu, J. E., Maynard, M. T., Rapp, T., & Gilson, L. L. (2008). Team effectiveness 1997-2007: A review of recent advancements and a glimpse into the future. Journal of Management, 34(3), 410-476. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://www.uio.no/studier/emner/matnat/ifi/INF5181/h15/articles-teamwork/mathieu_etal_2008_team-effectiveness-1997_2007_a_review_of_advancements_and_a_glimpse_into_the_future.pdf
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Lippmann, E., Pfister, A., & Urs, J. (2019). Handbuch Angewandte Psychologie für Führungskräfte. Führungskompetenzen und Führungswissen (5. Aufl.). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. (Accessed: November 2020). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-662-55810-2
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Burba, M. (2018). Erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit in Projektteams. Analyse der Projektmeetings bei einem Automobilhersteller (1. Aufl.). Springer. (Accessed: November 2020). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-658-19829-9
- ↑ Barkley, E., Major, C., & Cross, P. (2014). Collaborative Learning Techniques (2nd ed.). Wiley. (Accessed: 24.04.2023). https://www.perlego.com/book/999446/collaborative-learning-techniques-a-handbook-for-college-faculty-pdf
- ↑ Becker, J. H., Pastoors, S., & Ebert, H. (2017). Praxishandbuch berufliche Schlüsselkompetenzen. 50 Handlungskompetenzen für Ausbildung, Studium und Beruf (1. Aufl.). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. (Accessed: November 2020). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-662-54925-4
- ↑ Belbin, R. M. (2010). Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (3rd edition). Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). http://220.127.116.11/xmlui/handle/20.500.12383/1061?show=full
- ↑ Bornemann, S. (2012). Kooperation und Kollaboration. Das Kreative Feld als Weg zu innovativer Teamarbeit (1. Aufl.). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. (Accessed: November 2020). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-531-19179-9
- ↑ DuBrin, A. J. (2010). Essentials of Management (10th edition). South-Western Cengage Learning. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://studydaddy.com/attachment/137689/epdfpub_essentials-of-management-ninth-edition.pdf
- ↑ Hackman, J. R. (2002). Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances. Harvard Business Press. (Accessed: 24.04.2023). https://www.perlego.com/book/837329/leading-teams-setting-the-stage-for-great-performances-pdf
- ↑ Hoegl, G., & Gemuenden, H. G. (2001). Teamwork quality and the success of innovative projects: A theoretical concept and empirical evidence. Organization Science, 12(4), 435-449. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228365985_Teamwork_Quality_and_the_Success_of_Innovative_Projects_A_Theoretical_Concept_and_Empirical_Evidence
- ↑ Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (2005). The discipline of teams. Harvard business review, 83(7/8), 162-171. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5893c76059cc68f6efd5355a/t/58a4f6cb6a4963c71a7f0084/1487206107130/The+Discipline+of+Teams.pdf
- ↑ Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (1993). The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. Harvard Business School Press. (Accessed: April .2023). https://findit.dtu.dk/en/catalog/58945eff8040e5ab45038d77
- ↑ Kerzner, H. (2017). Project Management. A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. Wiley, 12th edition. (Accessed: 24.04.2023). https://www.perlego.com/book/3236853/project-management-a-systems-approach-to-planning-scheduling-and-controlling-pdf
- ↑ Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Jossey-Bass. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://www.academia.edu/39178542/The_Five_Dysfunctions_of_aTeam_Patrick_Lencioni
- ↑ Nerdinger, F. W., Blickle, G., & Schaper, N. (2011). Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie (2. Aufl.). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. (Accessed: November 2020). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-16972-4
- ↑ Robbins, S. P. (2001). Organizational behavior (9th ed.). Prentice Hall. (Accessed: April .2023). https://findit.dtu.dk/en/catalog/589460498040e5ab4504b03f
- ↑ Salas, E., Sims, D. E., & Burke, C. S. (2005). Is there a "big five" in teamwork?. Small group research, 36(5), 555-599. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220041354_Is_there_a_Big_Five_in_Teamwork
- ↑ Tannenbaum, S. I., Mathieu, J. E., Salas, E., & Cohen, D. (2012). Teams are changing: Are research and practice evolving fast enough?. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 5(1), 2-24. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/industrial-and-organizational-psychology/article/teams-are-changing-are-research-and-practice-evolving-fast-enough/6D811E1C7B16B12A14C403E720F3C2C3
- ↑ Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384-399. (Accessed: 5.05.2023). https://sci-hub.se/10.1037/h0022100