AnnaMarie Houlis
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Teamwork skills are vital to both your personal and professional life. Here's why teamwork skills matter, what teamwork skills look like and how to cultivate teamwork skills.

Why do teamwork skills matter?

Teamwork skills are important because, both in the workplace and at home, you need to be able to work well with others, collaborate with others, communicate well, actively listen and share ideas. 

Why are teamwork skills important at work?

It's no surprise that you need to be able to work well with others on your team at work. Being able to work well with your team will help your productivity, performance and overall morale — and, therefore, may also ultimately boost your job satisfaction.

Here are some other benefits of having teamwork skills at work:

  • You will be able to make more personalized connections at work.
  • You will be able to lean on others for help, as they understand that they can turn to and rely on you, in return.
  • You will understand your own strengths and be able to leverage those strengths to help the overall team.
  • You will understand your own weaknesses and be able to work on those weaknesses while leaning on your team for help.
  • When you work together as a team, you will likely work more efficiently and use your time more wisely — ultimately leaving more time for other, new work projects and/or passions of your own.
  • Working well on a team means you'll likely produce better results, which can benefit both you and the company as a whole.
  • When you work together as a team, you're forced to deal with one another's differences. And understanding others' differences helps develop empathy.

Why are teamwork skills important in overall life?

Teamwork skills are not only critical in the office, however. You're probably already well aware that having teamwork skills benefits you in your personal life, as well. Between friends and family, having teamwork skills can help you build better relationships and have stronger connections with others — especially those who are important to you.

Here are some other benefits of having teamwork skills in your personal life, beyond the workplace:

  • When you work well with others, you develop deeper relationships with them and build stronger bonds.
  • When you work well with others, you have people to which you can turn and talk to, as they know they can rely on you in times of need, too.
  • You will understand your own strengths and be able to leverage those strengths in your social circle and family.
  • You will understand your own weaknesses and be able to work on those weaknesses while leaning on your friends, family and social circle for help.

What are 5 teamwork skills that are important?

Some teamwork skills are more important than others. Here are five teamwork skills you should want to develop if you don't already have them.

1. Active listening

Active listening is important because it's a key part of communication. Conversations are two-way streets, and it's just as important for you to be able to articulate yourself as it is for you to be able to truly hear and understand the other person with whom you're communicating. Active listening means more than just giving the other person time to say their piece; it means carefully focusing on what they have to say (both verbally and nonverbally) with all of your undivided attention.

2. Effective communication

Effective communication, again, has to happen both ways. So you need to be able to articulate yourself well when the other person with whom you're communicating is listening to you. This doesn't just mean being able to talk to other people, however; it means being able to talk to other people in a way that they would understand — using empathy and establishing rapport to gain trust, connect and get yourselves on the same page.

3. Collaboration

As a team player, you need to be collaborative. This means knowing how to share ideas, bounce ideas off of one another, give and receive feedback in a constructive and forward-thinking way and work through your problems together.

4. Conflict resolution

Working through problems is a major skill, in fact. You need to be able to resolve conflicts without creating bigger conflicts or taking things too personally, even when that proves to be difficult at times. You also need to know when to compromise, as well as when to throw in the towel if you're in the wrong.

5. Inclusivity

Being part of a team means being surrounded by a support network in many ways. But this support network needs to be supportive of everyone involved in order for it to be a good team. Practicing inclusivity by leaving no one out, involving everyone around you and engaging with everyone on your team will go a long way.

What are 3 ways to cultivate teamwork skills?

1. Put yourself in team situations.

One surefire way to cultivate teamwork skills is by putting yourself in team situations to practice working well with others. Whether you're at the office and you take on a project or you're outside of the office and you decide to join a program like a club sport, you can work on your teamwork skills.

2. Have open conversations with your team about your strengths and weaknesses.

One way to truly work together as a team is by talking with your team about how to leverage all of your strengths and weaknesses. To do that, you need to have open and candid conversations that might not always be easy to have. You need to be comfortable acknowledging your own weaknesses and areas where you can improve.

3. Look inward.

Besides spending more time in team situations, you can also spend more time alone with yourself. Looking inward, away from your team, will help you to understand your values and the teamwork skills that you already have (as well as the ones you want to work on). 

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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