The importance of teamwork skills is specially brought up to our attention when we find ourselves part of a team that simply cannot get any work done.
Most times, communicating effectively seems impossible, everyone is confused, and the initially set goals are far from being achieved. This often leads to conflicts in the workplace and poor-quality outcomes.
Truth is, working with other people isn’t as straightforward as working by ourselves.
However, developing and improving your teamwork skills will not only make it much easier to work with your current team, but it will also make your resume shine amongst other candidates when applying to a new job.
In this article, we’ll go in-depth about teamwork skills: their definition, what are the different types, and how you can improve these key skills.
What are Teamwork Skills? Definition & Meaning
Teamwork skills is an umbrella term for the individual soft skills that make up the ability to work efficiently in a group setting.
Those include both basic social skills and more specific team-working skills.
Some examples of teamwork skills are active listening, critical thinking, organizational skills, and being able to give honest feedback or delegate tasks.
Being intrinsically motivated, having a personal preference for working in teams, and a collective approach rather than an individualist one are also highly desirable attributes.
Besides, having average-to-high levels of Big Five’s extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness personality traits is best for teamwork.
Types of Teamwork Skills and Examples
Teamwork skills are diverse and refer to various learned abilities and even some personality aspects of the person.
A positive team dynamic is achieved when the entire team is collaborative, communication is effective and conflicts are readily solved.
Consequently, teamwork runs more smoothly and goals are more likely to be met. Here are some of the most valuable individual skills that make working with a team effortless.
Effective team communication is the number one key to success. Maintaining an open and supportive style of communication is the foundation of great teamwork.
Having communication skills means being able to communicate clearly and efficiently, so that the message, the medium, and the receiver are taken into account.
- Listening Skills
- Presentation Skills
- Feedback Sharing
- Conversational Skills
Being able to manage conflict and solve problems while fostering positive and useful interactions are imperative interpersonal skills in team-working.
It’s also always great to look for appropriate win-win strategies that leave the entire team satisfied.
- Problem-solving Skills
- Conflict ManagementLogical Argument
- Solution-based Thinking
- Consensus-driven Decision Making
Using your active listening skills lets the speaker know that you are attentive to what they’re saying and that you understand their message correctly.
Active listening techniques that show you’re engaged in the conversation include:
- asclarifying questions
- maintaining appropriate eye contact
- being aware of non-verbal communication
- summarizing and rephrasing
Interpersonal awareness refers to being conscious of your teammates’ reactions and attitudes and understanding why they behave the way they do.
Paying attention to body language, tone of voice and facial expressions is crucial for a better understanding of verbal messages.
Likewise, having a high level of emotional intelligence is a very desirable teamwork skill, as you do constantly have to deal with other people and their idiosyncrasies.
- Attention to Non-Verbal Cues
- High Emotional Intelligence
- Interpersonal Skills
This is a critical teamwork skill. In order to achieve a common goal, teammates need to collaborate with each other.
This means working together in a synergic manner and helping one another in a way that all team members’ weaknesses are covered and strengths are amplified.
- Offering Support
- Complementary Skills
Teammates must be able to rely on one another for a team to work efficiently. This means you and your colleagues mutually trust each other to be capable of completing individual tasks and delivering quality work in a timely manner.
- Building Rapport
Qualities like empathy, altruism, patience, and tolerance can really facilitate working and maintaining good relationships with teammates.
Offering support, accepting criticism, taking in negative feedback, and being able to deal with frustrations while maintaining a positive attitude are highly reputable skills.
- Hearing Concerns
When leading a team, being organized and good at planning and coordinating are essential skills to have.
Effectively delegating tasks, clarifying roles, and establishing fair workloads will lead to an overall better group performance. An organized team is a team that gets work done.
- Leadership Skills
- Planning Skills
- Time Management Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Project Management Skills
- Goal Setting
- Team Building
How You Can Improve Your Teamwork Skills in The Workplace
Modern organizations are tending more and more to teams as their preferred work structures. This is because collaborative work, when high-performing, is known to increase overall product quality. This is why employers seek to hire applicants with good teamwork skills.
There are several ways you can develop and improve these soft skills. Outlined below are some steps you can take in that direction.
Taking in objective and relevant feedback is a great way to make yourself aware of which areas need improvement. Ask team colleagues what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. From there, you can better your performance as a team player by focusing on your strengths and working on your flaws.
Pay close attention to the co-workers you consider the most skilled in team working. Ask them for advice, and take note of their behaviors and attitudes, then seek to assimilate those into your own interactions with the group. You’ll be spontaneously improving your teamwork skills and even developing new ones.
Whether you want to improve hard skills or soft skills, it will not happen overnight. Practice makes it perfect and therefore, by participating more in teamwork and interacting with new colleagues, you’ll put your soft and hard skills to good use while consolidating them, as well as building rapport.
Setting specific and challenging yet reachable goals can be a strong tactic to keep you and your team motivated and goal-oriented. Let your colleagues’ feedback guide your goal setting and achievement, but don’t forget to self-monitor, as that’s also an important skill to have.
Why It’s Important to Promote Strengths in Teams
As described by the strengths theory, people are more likely to thrive when choosing to focus on their abilities and qualities rather than vulnerabilities.
The same goes for individuals working in teams. If everyone works alongside their strengths, they’re bringing the best parts of themselves into the team and therefore, make it much more high-performing.
Listed below are some actions you can take that can promote strengths in teams:
- Highlight skills and strengths rather than gaps
- Select team members with complementary strengths
- Offer support to your teammates
- Work together if your strengths align
- Give strength-focused feedback
- Recognize and praise your colleagues’ achievements
Team Building With Belbin Team Roles
Even if you have excellent teamwork skills, you won’t go far if you’re part of a badly assembled team.
It’s true that skilled team members with good interpersonal skills constitute the building blocks of great, functional teams. But thoughtful team building (which is a skill itself) is crucial if you want to form an efficient workgroup.
Successful team building isn’t exactly an easy task, however, employing the Belbin Team Roles framework certainly helps building better teams.
Belbin’s theory is based on the premise that in order for a team to be effective, certain key roles must be fulfilled.
Team members’ strengths and weaknesses are assessed through a self-perception inventory, and the results place each in their most fitting role.
Three distinct categories – social, thinking, and action – branch out to nine Belbin Team Roles, which are each correlated with Big Five dimensions.
Teamworker – a versatile and collaborative team player who is responsive to their team members’ needs while making sure the team remains cohesive with their diplomatic character.
Coordinator – a person-oriented and confident leader with powerful delegation skills who assigns tasks and sets concrete goals for the team.
Resource Investigator – a curious and innovative people-person who develops useful contacts and explores new opportunities.
Plant – a highly creative and ingenious person responsible for generating new ideas and has good problem-solving and presentation skills.
Monitor Evaluator – a judicious person who monitors the team performance and who can make unbiased assessments of colleagues and their work.
Specialist – a dedicated person who contributes with their expertise and knowledge to the team, helping with technicalities related to their field.
Shaper – a goal-oriented person who is dynamic and driven, responsible for keeping the team focused and motivated.
Implementer – a highly practical and organized person who can efficiently turn ideas into actions thanks to their strategic and logical skills.
Completer Finisher – a meticulous and detail-oriented person who is responsible for fine-tuning and making sure the final output is free of errors.
Strengths-Based Perspective On Teamwork
A team is, by definition, a group of individuals who work interdependently. Each team member has their own set of strengths, which make their contribution to the team unique.
It’s through a mix of these complementary, individual strengths, that performance is boosted up and team goals are achieved. This is definitely something to have in mind if you’re putting together a team.
Actually, if you take a closer look back at Belbin’s team roles, you’ll see they’re each based in different strengths, along with allowable weaknesses.
- Strengths: Co-operative, diplomatic and perceptive.
- Allowable weaknesses: Avoids confrontation and is sometimes indecisive.
- Strengths: Mature, confident and able to identify talent.
- Allowable weaknesses: Can be seen as manipulative and might offload their own share of work.
- Strengths: Outgoing and enthusiastic.
- Allowable weaknesses: Maybe over-optimistic and can easily lose interest.
- Strengths: Creative, imaginative, outside-the-box thinking.
- Allowable weaknesses: Ignoring incidentals and not being able to communicate effectively.
- Strengths: Strategic, sober and discerning.
- Allowable weaknesses: Lacking the drive and ability to inspire others and being overly critical.
- Strengths: Dedicated, single-minded and self-starting
- Allowable weaknesses: Contributes on a narrow front and dwells on technicalities.
- Strengths: Challenging, dynamic and thrives on pressure.
- Allowable weaknesses: Might be prone to provocation and may offend.
- Strengths: Reliable, practical and efficient.
- Allowable weaknesses: Can be inflexible and wary of new opportunities.
- Strengths: Painstaking, anxious and conscientious.
- Allowable weaknesses: Reluctant to delegate and worries excessively.
Bonus Tip: Examples of How to Describe and Highlight Your Teamwork Skills on Your Resume
When it comes to applying to a new job, you always want to leave a good first impression. Having a nicely written resume that is specific, concise and that highlights your best qualities is a good way to do that.
When including your teamwork skills on your resume or cover letter, keep in mind to:
Most big companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to easily screen their candidates. These systems scan the resumes for certain keywords that translate desirable skills for the position they are offering.
Accordingly, when writing your resume, aim to describe your teamwork skills using the keywords that are mentioned in the job posting. You’ll surely up your chances of getting an interview.
Keep The Relevant
A good rule of thumb: always tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to. Keep the relevant skills, and leave out the most unrelated ones. Also, don’t forget to emphasize the required job skills.
Keeping your resume short, easy to read, and specific to the particular position you’re applying to will earn you points from the recruiter.
Describe as Achievements
Describing your teamwork skills by giving out examples, such as past achievements and life experience, is like proving to the recruiter that you do, indeed, own all those skills.
Be concrete and describe them using quantifiable results, if it applies. Giving out these examples, in which you revealed those particular skills, also shows you have confidence in your work and abilities.
Teamwork Skills FAQ
How would you describe your teamwork skills?
Teamwork skills can be described using multiple strategies. One way to describe them is to get specific. Teamwork skills encompass a wide array of abilities. Ask yourself which specific skills are you referring to or trying to learn more about.
For instance, you could focus on communication, empathy, leadership, or any other teamwork-related skill. To describe how well you use that skill, try asking your employees or colleagues.
Keep track of how productive you are and which results you produce to further quantify your leadership skills.
What are 3 important skills for teamwork and collaboration?
In general, there are 3 important skills that you need to keep in mind when working in a team. These 3 skills are trust, tolerance, and self-awareness. The latter is important because it helps you effectively delegate tasks based on skills and strengths. It makes you more receptive to feedback, too.
Tolerance is necessary because it allows you to put aside prejudice so you can work together for a common goal. Finally, trust is needed because it is the basis of every relationship. Without trust, your colleagues may be unwilling fo work with you.
Overall Conclusion Of Teamwork Skills
Teamwork skills are highly valued for increasing group performance and outcome quality. Therefore, most employers seek to hire applicants with strong teamwork skills for building their teams. This is why you should focus on improving these key skills.
You can do that by taking in constructive feedback, learning by observing, setting personal goals, and practicing your collaborative abilities.
Nevertheless, in order for a team to be successful, the team members’ individual strengths must complement each other well, which is why thoughtful team building is so important.