5 steps to creating successful teamwork

Do you know how to improve the productivity of your group? Work supervisor Jenny Julin provides you with 5 steps on how to create effective teamwork.


1. Be aware of what stage the group members are at. According to Susan A. Wheelans theories, a new group needs a strong leader. When co-workers within a team are new to each other they have a tendency to be slightly wary, polite and unsure about their role – at this point it is important to have someone who creates a clear structure, is clear about expectations and is able to give instructions. This is important to keep in mind even when a group has been working together for a longer period of time as a new recruit might send the group back to the polite ways of working that can cause some confusion within the group – and this is perfectly ok. However, make sure you understand the different phases and adapt your leadership style accordingly.

2. Practice clear communication when it comes to expectations of the individual in the group ,as well as when it comes to the expectations regarding the group as a whole. Keep a continuous discussion about the expectations! We often forget that we are all sitting in the same boat and need to row in the same direction. Everyone should be aware of the mutual goals.

3. Be sure to create conditions for continuous follow-ups regarding the work within different projects you have going on. If too much time is left in between meetings it risks creating uncertainty and the risk for the individual “going rouge” increases. Communicate with your team, follow-up on short-term goals and tell them where we stand. Is the work keeping up with the time schedule? What has been done? What needs to be done? Who is in charge of what? This way,  you avoid the work piling up when the deadline approaches. How often the team should meet for a follow-up depends of the nature of the project, but aim for at least once per month.

4. Create a work environment that entails both positive and constructive feedback. The aim of feedback should always be to help individual growth – not to pour out disappointment and  frustrated feelings. If you are unhappy with a coworker, try to deal with your feelings on your own and “ride it out” before bringing it up with the person in question. Remember to celebrate good work!

5. Encourage self leadership within the group. Everyone should be allowed decision making within the given frames. Work tends to run more smoothly if the co-worker in consultation with the supervisor has power over his or her own work. A leader seldom needs to be included in all the tiny details. A hierarchical approach is rarely advantageous for the group. It is all about trusting each other!