Why We’re Better Together
Are you secretly a lone-wolf-meets-control-freak, believing that nobody can ever do a job as well as you? Are you doubting the positive effects of teamwork because you’ve been burned before? We put together 7 main advantages of teamwork and we’re ready to prove you wrong!
There are many advantages to teamwork, even though at times it can feel a little stressful and messy. True teamwork can take time to get going as working with fellow humans with different personalities isn’t always easy.
But there’s a reason that the common (if a bit worn-down) phrase “two heads are better than one” has been around for ages. Some of the best things simply cannot be done alone. Think of great scientific discoveries, brave expeditions or the latest technology trends. They have all required some pretty amazing teamwork!
“We live in cities which are evidence of teamwork. We build companies which are evidence of teamwork. We watch sports which are evidence of teamwork. In our search for “self made” billionaires and tech icons to fawn over, I think we’ve really forgotten that almost everything we do is actually in teams.”Cody Royle
We have prepared a breakdown of 7 key advantages to teamwork backed by science and facts. Keep these benefits in mind for whenever you have an “it would have been easier if I had done it alone” moment.
1. Working together facilitates idea generation and creativity
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely, but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”Mark Twain
You might not be too happy to hear this, but Mr. Twain is right. There are no new ideas; there are only new ways to recycle old ones. We consider them unique, but in fact, we draw from a stock of existing concepts and copy, re-purpose, transform and fuse them together. This depository of “old ideas” is called collective intelligence – intelligence only possible through collaboration. See, even in the metaphysical sense, teamwork is the key!?
One important benefit of teamwork is, therefore, the way thinking in a group influences creativity. By involving multiple people (up to 10, according to research), the number of different perspectives can give birth to a greater number of these combinations of ideas.
Besides a bigger pool of ideas, working together also creates an enthusiasm for idea generation that people usually don’t experience alone. The ability to share ideas with the team excites employees and accelerates the creative process.
Yet, this advantage of teamwork can only be realized if it’s managed correctly. While creativity thrives on constructive criticism, it also requires a certain level of comfort among the group. To strike this balance, you need to put the right people together. Start by charting your employees’ strengths and distribute tasks accordingly.
“In the right environment, with the right leader setting the tone, I think teamwork undoubtedly fosters ideas and creativity. I’m a firm believer in the concept of compounding strengths, where if everyone on the team plays to their strengths, those strengths compound at a higher rate of return.”Cody Royle
2. Teamwork improves productivity and brings better business results
Firstly, working in a team inspires people to work harder. Scientists have found that team members actually motivate each other to be more productive. We could explain this: surrounded by other people, we feel a societal pressure to perform and deliver – get things done. A word or two on this matter from a well-known productivity expert, Carl Pullein:
But that’s not all. There’s a great theoretical model which explains exactly why teamwork is so beneficial to businesses. It serves as a useful roadmap for understanding team members roles in a team and their psychological characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses during the project.
The model is called the Z-Process you see pictured below. To achieve the best results, it’s important to identify the roles inside the team and manage them accordingly, assigning them the right tasks to the right people.
Can you see why it’s so difficult to carry out a project all by yourself? Even with all the necessary competencies, doing all the work yourself can be very challenging. You may be a skilled creator but may struggle with the finer details or you may be great at finer details but struggle with new creative ideas. In both cases, having a team around you can help you fill in the gaps.
The lesson is: Capitalize on the strength of your team members. Manage them with this model in mind. You will soon notice an improvement in the quality of output you produce as a team.
3. Working in teams boosts employee morale and motivation
“We’re in this together!” This simple sentence describes one of the benefits of teamwork – the increase in overall satisfaction at work.
People are social creatures and despite the fact that some prefer to work alone, we enjoy sharing experiences with others. According to science, we’re biologically and psychologically wired to feel better and work better in a team rather than alone. The advantages of teamwork in this regard are multiple:
- When we’re feeling tired, our teammates can provide us with an extra energy boost that we need to power through.
- Sharing success improves team motivation while sharing failures makes the dark days less gloomy and enables us to come up with solutions to overcome them.
- As a part of a team, we have a greater level of control over decisions and our work. This can lead to a greater feeling of ownership of the project and overall recognition.
- Working within a team adds to the feeling of belonging – when employees are a part of a communal goal, they feel more connected to the company and thus more fulfilled and proud of their work.
The benefit of (well managed) teamwork is a more rewarding work environment, which as a result improves company loyalty, employee retention and lowers turnover – all positive things for any business.
4. Teamwork encourages taking healthy risks
During an extensive research project, Aristotle, Google’s People Operations department came to a number of interesting conclusions about teamwork. The results made it clear: one of the main prerequisites for successful teamwork was a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’
One engineer, for instance, had told researchers that his team leader was ‘‘direct and straightforward, which creates a safe space for you to take risks.’’What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build a Perfect Team, New York Times
This is the definition of a well-researched phenomenon called “psychological safety”. In functional teams that offer this kind of safety, an excellent teamwork benefit blossoms – healthy risk-taking. Team members aren’t afraid to voice suggestions, work independently, and take chances – and all that is much easier to do when we’re not alone.
There’s strength in numbers and it’s much easier to make risky decisions if you have a group of people behind you who support it and will catch you if you stumble.
5. When we work together, we learn faster
Once you put together a team of people, there’s a great chance it will consist of people of different ages, backgrounds, skills, and experience. While there are certain challenges at closing the gaps between these differences, the richness of shared knowledge far surpasses it. This means a continuous opportunity for people to learn from each other – professionally and personally.
Advantages of teamwork in terms of learning and passing on the knowledge are multiple:
- New team members can quickly learn the ropes and become productive faster if they have a mentor rather than figuring it out alone.
- People have the chance to (subconsciously and purposefully) learn about different communication styles – a knowledge they can transfer when working with clients, for example.
- Employees working in a team can also learn by observing their co-workers and significantly shorten the time dedicated exclusively to training.
To top this off – research suggests that our brains in fact function better when we’re practicing teamwork – measurably so!
Research shows, for example, that listening and participating in a two-person conversation is actually less mentally taxing for the brain than giving or listening to a monologue, even though what we understand about how we process language would suggest otherwise. Other studies show children learn better by interacting with others rather than observing.Source
As the workload increases and business speeds up, it’s necessary to add some technological solutions to optimize the processes of sharing knowledge. That’s why collaboration apps, such as Loop Email are so amazing.
Loop Email is not another platform with just one purpose. Rather, it enhances a tool many people already use (email) and transforms it into a collaboration hub.
With Loop Email teammates can learn by gathering information (for example researching data from past projects, stored in Shared inbox), observing work processes (being included in conversations inside Loops) and asking questions (real-time chats with teammates).
6. Teamwork relieves stress
We’re probably all tired of hearing about stress, how to become less stressed and how to prevent it. Well, let us nevertheless add our 2 cents to the debate by pointing out another benefit of teamwork – stress relief. It might not seem very obvious – in fact, you could swear that working with others is driving you insane!
Research shows it’s quite the opposite – provided you are not a part of a completely dysfunctional team, of course. Employees who work together, in the long run, experience reduced levels of stress because they share the workload. A worker tackling a heavy workload all by himself can easily become overworked, which could lead to burning out.
Besides working long hours there are psychological factors at play too. It’s easier to start working on a mountain of tasks if there are multiple people digging through it – once the work is delegated, all team members perceive the task as easier.
The benefit teamwork has in the arena of mental health also comes from the fact that team members act as each other’s relief team. Whenever you have to pick up the kids from school, go to a dentist appointment, or just need an hour of rest, your team can cover for you. That results in a more flexible work schedule and a piece of mind because your personal life did not disrupt that important presentation.
7. Working together improves customer service
If your business relies on excellent customer service, the advantage of teamwork can’t be missed. People tend to avoid companies where employees are unhappy – and this dissatisfaction is often rooted in poor teamwork (see point 3 in this article). A team that’s in sync will be more welcoming and positive towards clients too.
Teams that have mastered collaboration and managed different steps in handling the workplace silos, utilizecustomer requests better. Why is that?
- Team members can share their experiences and best practices, thus making the customer service better.
- When it comes to solving problems, teamwork pays of in terms of a plethora of solutions a team provides.A single person might never come up with a certain solution that another co-worker comes up with.
- The service the customer receives will be more consistent because team members communicate and are on the same page regarding the company goals and values.
- With customer service being an extremely time sensitive business, fast responses are of the essence. A group of people can speed up the process of getting back to the customer, making it more efficient.
And don’t assume this teamwork benefit works only in customer support fields. Despite the tradition, sales departments can also benefit a lot from teamwork.
Why should you care? Well, the stats speak for themselves:
You are, without a doubt, familiar with CRM platforms. But did you know that, for some businesses, all these bulky, expensive tools aren’t beneficial? Meet Loop Email.
Loop Email is a platform built on your existing email account. It turns your inbox into a collaboration hub and as such serves as a great alternative to a bulky CRM solution. Using it is simple and intuitive because it combines the best of the two most popular means of communication: email and chat messaging.
We saved the best for last. If your business has a public domain account (like info@, sales@, support@ or office@) or you carry out a lot of customer support through email then our new feature, called Shared Inbox would be ideal for you. With it, your team will be able to chat around every email, assign particular emails to individuals and most importantly, have everything organized in one place.