Teamwork

Definition

Teamwork is where each individual puts the goals and needs of the group above their own personal needs and goals. This does not mean that the individual isn’t important or that they cannot contribute personal ideas or strive to reach their personal goals. It means that they are willing to accept group decisions, to do tasks that are needed for group success and to put ‘the spotlight’ on the group as a whole not on personal achievements.

T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More!

Robotics Application

Strong Teamwork is absolutely essential to succeed at robotic competitions. Most of these competitions have a fairly short timeframe to create a rather complicated machine. Building a robot takes a variety of skills and knowledge and a lot of work. It would be very difficult for one person to know enough and work long enough to do it alone. When you split up the workload, it becomes easier as each person does a part. By combining efforts, the group as a whole is more likely to succeed.

The hard part of teamwork is getting everyone to agree on what to do and who does what. Each person in the group has to be willing to compromise on decisions. Then, once decisions are made, each member must be willing to work on things that they might not have personally chosen. In other words setting aside individual preferences for the group good.

Another difficult part of teamwork is getting along, especially under pressure. When you put a group of people together, all with different personalities, then add the stress of difficult tasks, learning as you go and very short deadlines, tempers can flare. It is critical that team members show respect for each other and work really hard at communicating to prevent misunderstandings. It also helps to be a bit forgiving when someone else reacts badly.

Forming a successful team is a process with four stages:

  1. Forming: This is where members search for their position within the group, test the rules and assess leadership.
  2. Storming: The most difficult stage for a group. Members are finding it difficult to put team ahead of self. They are struggling to reach consensus, are impatient with slow progress, are focused on personal goals rather than team goals. This stage can be emotional and full of conflict.
  3. Norming: This is the reconciliation stage, where members begin to put the team goals at the forefront, where they align their goals to the team goals. Conflict reduces and members begin to create cooperative relationships.
  4. Performing: Team has discovered and accepted individual strengths and figured out how to use them to reach team goals.

When you add new members to a team, the team will go through this process again as new members are integrated into the group. Experienced members can help the process by being flexible enough to adjust roles to include new members. New members can help by having patience, and politely speaking up with questions and requests.

Teamwork Tips

Guidelines for successful teamwork:

  • The team must have a clear goal.
  • The team must have a results-driven structure.
  • The team must have competent team members.
  • The team must have unified commitment.
  • The team must have a collaborative and cooperative climate.
  • The team must have high standards that are understood by all.
  • The team must receive external support and encouragement.
  • The team must have principled leadership.
Methods of Peer Mentoring:

  • Consistently acknowledge and appreciate member contributions.
  • Effectively utilize each team member to his/her fullest potential.
  • Encourage members to be involved, to gain skills and knowledge.
  • Motivate team to work together in the most efficient manner.
  • Keep track of lessons learned and share those lessons with team.
  • Mitigate team conflict and communication problems.
  • Facilitate team social activities, to help create friendships within the team.

Vocabulary

Definitions Vocabulary words Your answers Key
  1. The act, often through praise or words, of helping another person stick with a difficult project, to get them to feel that they can accomplish the task, to help them find the energy to keep trying.
  2. A person who is part of the group.
  3. To maintain, sustain, endure, hold up, lift up and provide a foundation.
  4. To work with another person, each doing a part as agreed.
  5. The end result or aim that efforts are trying to achieve.
  6. Agreement by the entire group to work toward a specific goal or task.
  7. Willingness to work together to achieve a common purpose
  8. The ability to influence, guide, conduct others.
  9. The system or organization of a group that defines how members interact.
  10. To impart or transmit a message from one person to another.
  1. Collaboration
  2. Communication
  3. Cooperation
  4. Encouragement
  5. Goal
  6. Group Structure
  7. Leadership
  8. Member
  9. Support
  10. Unified Commitment

Activities

If you wish to experiment with teamwork you can download these instruction sheets:

How to play Teamwork games
How to build and play a Teamwork race
Check your teamwork with Teamwork Assessment cards

Also here are some links to games and activities about team building:    Teampedia
Wilderdom Store – team buildinig activities
Team Building Portal