The Importance of the Team


What is a team? It seems like a simple question, almost to the point of ridiculousness. But what are the qualities that define a great team? Trust? Chemistry? Ability? Everyone’s gone through a team-building exercise at least once or twice, but what’s the point? The concept of the team is more than just a feel-good buzzword for coworkers; having a great team leads to real business benefits.

Let’s start with the basics: a team is made up of several people working towards a common goal. Brought together by choice or circumstance, a team relies on the cooperation of different personalities, areas of expertise, skill levels, and more. So what makes a great team? Well, great teammates.

Better Work through Teamwork

When people come together to work as a team, amazing things can happen:

1. Creative Solutions

Two heads are better than one, so it follows that even more people engaged in solving a single problem will come up with a better solution. Working alone, thoughts, tactics, and approaches can sometimes get stale or repetitive, and you end up with the same answer to several questions. With a group of people, however, different knowledge bases and experiences contribute to well-rounded consideration of a topic, leading to greater creativity and innovation.

2. Faster & Better Work

One of the best things about celebrating teams as teammates rather than a whole is the focus on contributing individual strengths. Some of the best-performing teams work well because they combine unique specialties with a willingness to work together. From communicating to delegating work to overcoming roadblocks, better work gets done faster when people are able to collaborate.

3. Happy People

When people can work effectively together, they tend to get along and even have fun with their jobs. But having happier employees doesn’t just make everyone feel good: it also has an impact on business success and growth. The employee experience has been a focus area for HR professionals and company executives as businesses try to improve morale, empowerment, satisfaction, and ultimately, worker productivity. Getting people excited to work with their team makes their jobs more exciting and fulfilling, meaning fostering great teamwork is key to better employee experiences.

Becoming a Better Team

So how do you get started on building or strengthening your team? Patrick Lencioni, whose best-selling books discuss leadership, teamwork, and organizational health, advises starting with the individual. If team members aren’t team players, it’s unlikely they’ll produce the work you’re looking for – and they might drag everyone else down with them.

In his book, The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni defines a team player as “humble, hungry, and people-smart” – in other words, a person whose main goal is betterment of their team by improving themselves. Finding and hiring this ideal team player isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. And for those with established teams? With some personal buy-in, it can be taught.

West Michigan businesses have so much potential as our state receives more attention as a great place to live, work, and grow. Some business leaders see dedicated HR services as relevant only to companies who have already “made it,” but the truth is that human resources can kickstart your path to success. We hope to see you at the Ideal Team Player Workshop!

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