Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Deakin University's online course, Career Credentials: Evidence Your Expertise in Teamwork. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds CATHERINE FRIDAY: My experience is that teamwork is hard, and it needs to be learned. A lot of people that we recruit as graduates into the firm we select because they have been individually successful generally in their academic careers but often in other areas of their life as well. However, our success as a practise and our success as a firm is based almost exclusively on people’s ability to become part of a team, to understand their role and their responsibility and their accountability within that framework. And that has to be learned and practised every time.

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 seconds GARY SMITH: What is absolutely important is that a team needs to be able to collaborate, and collaboration means respecting other people’s opinions, bringing shared issues to the table and the old adage that a problem shared is a problem halved is absolutely the truth in a team environment.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds MELINDA DI VITA: Teamwork can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever encounter. There are some people who simply cannot work in a team, who are lone wolves, and they will achieve what they want to achieve on their time, in their way. So you need those people in an organisation because they’re probably the experts in the area that you’re wanting to do some teamwork around. So that could be knowledge experts. So you need them in a team environment. But no, I don’t believe everyone’s a team player. And it’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just the way that it is. And as a manager, that’s what you have to deal with.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds CATHERINE FRIDAY: The great success of teams comes when people put the objectives of the team ahead of their own egos and are prepared to adapt and flex to what the team needs rather than what they might want in any particular situation. So it is all about what is the broader objective that we’re asserting here and leaving egos at the door.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds MELINDA DI VITA: Respect first and foremost because everyone has an opinion. So you have to listen and you have to respect everyone’s opinion. You also have to respect everyone’s skillsets. So there are some people who are great starters, but shocking finishers. And then there’s people who are excellent finishers, but aren’t motivated to start anything. And then there’s the people in the middle who keep the motivation and the drive going. So as long as you can understand what everyone’s skillset is and where their motivations lie within the team, I think that’s really important. That’s just vital for success.

Skip to 2 minutes and 34 seconds CATHERINE FRIDAY: In my experience, being introvert or extrovert actually doesn’t matter. What matters is getting on and doing the job and being responsible for the tasks that you are given. It is doing, not talking, that ultimately matters. And you’re introvert or extrovert profile is largely irrelevant in terms of your overall capabilities.

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 seconds GARY SMITH: Extroverts by nature will tend to dominate, and those who aren’t as extrovert will feel a little bit intimidated and potentially a little bit undermined. The important part of a team environment is that everyone’s opinion is able to be contributed and everyone’s opinions rings equally with the next.

Skip to 3 minutes and 17 seconds CATHERINE FRIDAY: I think teamwork falls all over when teams stop talking to one another and communicating with one another. In some teams, particularly teams that are new and where people don’t know one another, that communication might need to be structured. There might need to be formal team meetings or formal team get togethers in order to provide that connectivity around who’s doing what and how people are progressing with the particular tasks that have been assigned to them. In other teams that are more mature and have worked together a lot more, that will happen informally and a lot more organically in the life of a project. But I think teams succeed or fail on the success of their communication.

Skip to 3 minutes and 54 seconds GARY SMITH: Be prepared to work in a truly collaborative environment. Be prepared to express your opinion and thoughts based on as much fact and reason as you possibly can and be prepared to listen to others.

Skip to 4 minutes and 10 seconds MELINDA DI VITA: Difference. So you need different people on teams for it be successful. There is no point me hiring six of myself to do a task because we’ll all have the same opinion. We’ll have the same approach. You need people who are completely different, and I’m talking an all different levels– so with skillsets, nationality, male, female, everyone. So completely different backgrounds– you need people who have got different life experiences to make a team work.

Employer perspectives

There are many reasons why organisations value professionals with good teamwork skills. In this video, senior workplace leaders share their perspective about what good teamwork looks like, why it matters and tips for improving your own teamwork skills.

Teamwork is one of the most highly regarded employability skills and most organisations rely on successful teamwork to achieve their goals and objectives.

Being able to work productively within a collaborative project or team is vital for increasing creativity, improving the quality of work and fostering healthy and productive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders in contemporary workplaces.

Organisations can also leverage collaborative environments to improve their customer service. For example, professionals who collaborate are able to provide a better experience and superior support for their customers by being able to tap into internal experts, information and resources.

To achieve organisational objectives and goals, employees need to be able to collaborate across teams and organisational boundaries, communicate clearly with each other, be aware and considerate of emotions and solve problems with the full intellectual capital of the team rather than individuals.

Your task

Watch the video to find out more from senior workplace leaders about the importance of teamwork in organisational settings.

Was there anything that stood out or you found particularly interesting, useful or surprising?

When you’re done, summarise your key takeaways from this video and share them in the comments. Also take a moment to read through other posts and use reply to add your thoughts.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Career Credentials: Evidence Your Expertise in Teamwork

Deakin University