Teamwork is one of those “soft” skills.
TeamworkI’ve found that calling teamwork a “soft” skill doesn’t give the skill and activity the level of importance it deserves.
Consider these quotes about teamwork…

“Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” —Vince Lombardi

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” —Michael Jordan

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows people to attain uncommon results.” —Andrew Carnegie

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” —Phil Jackson

“You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else.”
—Zig Ziglar

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
—Zig Ziglar

Let’s say you have to pull together a group of people to get things done. Yes, a team. Whether they report to you, work for you or not. It’s still a team. How do you get the team humming smoothly.

The fundamental process all teams go through

Teamwork stages:  Forming — Storming — Norming — Performing

Stages of Teamwork: Forming Storming Norming Performing

Stages of Teamwork: Forming Storming Norming Performing

Teams go through all four stages each time they are formed as they converge on teamwork or not. Even with people you know well or report to you.
The forming stage is easy. You get together and start to divvy up tasks. Or someone dominates the meeting broadcasting their knowledge. Maybe it’s not so easy.
The Storming stage happens as people jockey for position to show case their skills, avoid doing work, get the attention or what ever their motivations are driving them to do.
The Norming stage occurs as people slip into their most comfortable activities.
Here’s the tricky stage.
The Performing stage can ONLY happen if the leader of the group…let’s say you, have done their homework up front and guided the group through the stages in a smart way. Otherwise the teamwork falls into dysfunction.
Do your homework before kicking off a team.

5 Essentials of effective Teamwork

hand_1Know your primary goal for the group. Make sure it is crisp, SMART. Otherwise you are wasting your time and everyone else’s time. Teamwork will not occur unless someone takes on the leadership role. It might as well be you.

Become an excellent listener. That means you talk 20% of the time, ask questions and listen 80% of the time. Listen to suggestions.

Do not care (too much) about “how” things are done. Care about what is done, the quality of the result and timeliness of the result.

Pay attention to what each team member can do, wants to do, and wants to offer. Think of yourself as a coach. Coaching a team through practices prepping for the season. Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses and yours.

Hold people accountable for what they say they will do. Accountability can only happen if you did the prep work to establish the goal properly and communicated it well. Set the ground rules for the group. Make sure everyone knows what you expect as far as performance and engagement.

These 5 essentials will go a long way to helping you build teamwork for each project. The essentials of teamwork will increase your odds of getting past the storming stage and into the performing stage.
Remember, each and every project, even with the same people, will go through the 4 stages of teamwork. Don’t think differently. Being skilled in the basics of management and leadership require constant vigilance and practice. It will pay off with excellent teamwork.
If you want to talk through how to improve teamwork, let’s set up a time and talk.
Email me at or call me at 503-753-9971.

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