Outside of healthcare, research tells us that teams working together in high-risk and high-intensity work environments make fewer mistakes than do individuals. This includes empirical evidence from commercial aviation, the military, firefighting and rapid-response police activities. These studies show a strong relationship between qualities such as flexibility, adaptability, resistance to stress, cohesion, retention and morale with effective team performance (Baker et al. 2005a; Gully et al. 1995, 2002).
Without trust, a team crumbles and cannot succeed on assigned projects. Great teams build each other up and strengthen individual members to create a cohesive group. By working together, employees learn that wins and losses affect everyone on the team. Teamwork necessitates confidence in each other’s distinct abilities.
Teamwork is not just helpful for employees. It benefits the employer in the long run as well. Employees that connect directly with their workplace are more likely to stay with the company. While employees leaving their jobs often cite a lacking salary, another common complaint is that their contributions do not seem to matter. Teamwork allows people to engage with the company and add to the bigger picture.
All managers and executives at some time have had to deal with conflict. The way that each one handles discord is a determining factor of success. Initially, he or she must communicate to gain a clear understanding of what is actually causing the conflict. Rebecca Hastings explains the need for communication in the workplace in “Conflict Management Contributes to Communication.” Hastings states that most conflicts stem from poor communication in which one party misinterprets the words or actions of another party. She notes that communication problems are particularly exaggerated when departments are competing for resources or when they have unique subcultures.
Working as a team allows team members to take more risks, as they have the support of the entire group to fall back on in case of failure. Conversely, sharing success as a team is a bonding experience. Once a team succeeds together, their brainstorming sessions will produce revolutionary ideas without hesitation. In many cases, the riskiest idea turns out to be the best idea. Teamwork allows employees the freedom to
“Two heads are better than one.” We’ve all heard the old adage encouraging teamwork, but what does working together really do for you? Salesmen thrive off healthy competition, but sometimes the use of teamwork in the workplace is a better answer for winning sales. Here are six ways that teamwork benefits you in the workplace.
In healthcare, teamwork is the ongoing process of interaction between team members as they work together to provide care to patients. The researchers found that while and are often used as synonyms in casual discussion, they are not synonymous. Critically, the researchers identified inter-professional collaboration as both a process affecting teamwork (and, in turn, patient care and health provider satisfaction) and an outcome in and of itself. In fact, collaboration can take place whether or not health professionals consider themselves to be part of a team. The researchers cite the example of primary healthcare, where professionals including a family physician, a physiotherapist and a dentist may all provide care to the same patient, yet in most cases do not see themselves as a functioning team. On the other hand, effective teamwork rarely happens where there is no collaboration (Oandasan et al. 2006).
How do you create the conditions for effective teamwork in the workplace? Good team leadership is about creating the conditions that allow ideas and people to flourish, people to come together, to feel empowered, and performance to flow.
This paper references some of the key evidence gathered by the researchers funded by the CHSRF, as well as other key research. It is not a summary of their synthesis work (which is available in complete form on the CHSRF website) but, rather, a perspective on the report, as well as other relevant research. Similarly, the discussions with managers and policy makers referenced in this paper are not verbatim transcriptions but, rather, a presentation of what the CHSRF sees as some of the most pertinent discussions regarding the challenge at hand: the evidence-informed implementation of effective teamwork in healthy workplaces across Canada.
When you balance developing people’s strengths, with building good relationships and connections between people, in the pursuit of challenging and meaningful team goals you are moving a long way towards encouraging effective teamwork in the workplace.
What you have learned from your individual experiences is entirely different from your coworkers. Thus, teamwork also maximizes shared knowledge in the workplace and helps you learn new skills you can use for the rest of your career.
In 2005, the CHSRF commissioned a team of researchers to synthesize the existing evidence regarding effective teams in healthcare and what is being done to promote effective teamwork in Canada and abroad. Funding for this work was also provided by Health Canada (Oandasan et al. 2006). With a draft report in hand, the CHSRF also brought together a number of policy and management decision makers, clinicians and researchers for two days of frank and open discussion about priorities and concerns, with the goal of developing recommendations that tackle the issue of how to implement effective teamwork at the different levels of Canada's healthcare systems.