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Fundamentals of Teamwork

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

Heard of the saying teamwork makes the dream work? A team that works cohesively can deliver much better results.

Here at TOC, we believe that collaboration is key. We’ve curated five fundamentals of teamwork to get you started — you can thank us later.


Respect is of paramount importance to ensure effective teamwork. Respect should be given regardless of pay grade — it isn’t just the junior executives that have to show respect to their seniors.

Mutual respect is essential in a team to create a space for meaningful conversations. Employees will only be motivated to contribute quality ideas if their views are respected during team discussions.

Each member of an organisation should respect ideas contributed by their co-workers.

Additionally, organisations should implement a code of conduct. This includes enforcing a set of rules that every employee should abide by. Some of these rules could include zero tolerance policies for sexual harassment, verbal and physical abuse.

This is beneficial in the long run as it ensures that the workplace remains a safe ground for all employees to work productively. As Howard Schultz once said, “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to a brand.” This applies not just to consumers, but to employees as well.

Common Goals

Having a shared objective pulls teams together as everyone works toward a common goal. It fosters a sense of commitment in employees by facilitating constant communication with fellow colleagues.

Additionally, shared goals that directly affect co-workers’ KPIs also serve as a motivational tool. When working towards a similar goal for mutual benefit, co-workers often report feeling a sense of solidarity that encourages them to do better.

A good way to ensure that everyone stays on track with their progress regularly is to organise review meetings. Additionally, rewards may be tied to team efforts that prove effective so as to cultivate a more results-driven culture.


“When you point the finger, you miss the point.”

Accountability is crucial to building an effective team. When you have a team of people that are accountable, they take full responsibility for their individual tasks.

Being accountable allows a team to mitigate unnecessary complications in the workplace, thereby driving productivity. In a culture where accountability is held in high regard, things like pointing fingers can be avoided.

When each team member is keenly aware of the tasks they have to accomplish, things can get done in an efficient and organised manner.

Leaders can instill a culture of accountability by holding themselves to high standards that employees can emulate. Instead of simply encouraging employees to practise integrity and competence, they should first exemplify these values themselves.

To promote accountability, an organisation can adopt an open culture where co-workers take ownership of their own responsibilities and accept mistakes made by others.


Communication is always key. Did you know that several medical deaths were caused by illegible handwriting of doctors?

Miscommunication between co-workers can give rise to a whole host of problems that you’ll want to avoid. In order to steer clear of such situations, consider the media richness theory.

The media richness theory involves two types of media — rich and lean. Rich media refers to media that can clarify ambiguous issues whereas lean media refers to media that requires more time to convey understanding.

If and when a conflict arises, using rich media, such as face-to-face communication to resolve the situation would be most optimal.

If you’re trying to invite a colleague for lunch, communicating using lean media would suffice.

Active listening is another key component of effective organizational communication. In order to be an active listener, one has to fully concentrate, understand, respond and remember to a message.

It’s not uncommon to space out when a co-worker is speaking to you (we blame the food coma) but doing so can lead to miscommunication and other potential problems.

That’s why it’s really important to listen — active listening allows for the accurate dissemination of information, and an active listener and receiver of the message will be able to execute instructions given properly.


As humans, we thrive on validation. It’s important to commend the efforts of a co-worker when things are being done well. Employee recognition drives the level of productivity at work, reduces employee turnover and increases customer satisfaction.

A happy employee would be more motivated to perform well, and being in good spirits, would extend better service to customers.

Introducing a culture that promotes peer recognition is a great way to get things going. Encourage the team to take time to thank or affirm fellow co-workers for a job well done. You’ll notice a boost in the overall morale and this will, in turn, reap favourable results.

Apart from verbal recognition, your organization can offer more tangible rewards that come in the form of bonuses or monetary prizes to commend employees who demonstrate exemplary performance.

Cultivate a collaborative, supportive work culture at your organization with these five key fundamentals of teamwork and the team will be working together like a well-oiled machine in no time. As Michael Jordan said: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."