The basics of teamwork skills
Nearly every profession requires individuals to possess some level of teamwork skills, whether you work in sales or in software development. Working well with others is crucial to effective communication, getting along with colleagues and managers, and contributing to a high-functioning work environment. Here we explore what teamwork skills are, popular teamwork skills that employers look for, how you can improve your teamwork skills, and how to make your teamwork skills shine when searching for a new job.
Teamwork skills defined
Teamwork skills are a group of skills that allow you to effectively interact and communicate with others. These skills are required for nearly any job position and are put in use in various ways, such as when collaborating with others on a project, participating in meetings, and having conversations with coworkers and managers. Good teamwork skills allow professionals to contribute positively to their place of work as well as accomplish goals and support a healthy office environment where employees thrive.
While most jobs require you to possess a certain level of teamwork skills, the following positions are centered around teamwork and involve using these skills on a daily basis:
- Recruiting and staffing positions.
- Human resources employees.
- Marketing positions.
- Chefs or head cooks.
- Managers in various industries, such as construction.
- Customer service representatives.
- Administrative positions.
Teamwork skills examples
There are several top teamwork skills that employers actively look for when hiring new employees. Popular teamwork skills that stand out on a resume include:
Being able to communicate with others is essential when working as part of a team. Whether you’re writing an email or participating in a meeting, good communication skills ensure effective teamwork. Common communication skills include:
- Giving and receiving feedback.
- Nonverbal communication.
- Verbal communication.
- Written communication.
- Asking questions.
Listening skills are an important component of successful teamwork. Employees should be able to listen to the concerns and ideas of others and respond in an appropriate and positive way. Good listening skills demonstrate that you care about what’s being said and that you understand what the other person is trying to convey. Good listening skills to have include:
- Active listening.
- Critical thinking.
- Asking questions.
- Interpretation or analysis skills.
Collaboration is a cornerstone of good teamwork and refers to the ability to work in a group setting and is defined as working with and cooperating with others in a group setting. Being able to collaborate requires both communication skills and interpersonal skills. Other skills that fall under the collaboration skills category include:
- Emotional intelligence.
- Verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
- Sensitivity to others’ situations and beliefs.
- Expectation management.
Conflict resolution skills
Conflict resolution skills often go hand-in-hand with teamwork skills, as many teams are tasked with working together to come up with a common solution to an issue. Conflicts may also arise within the group setting, so being able to quickly and effectively deescalate a conflict makes you a great team player. Examples of conflict resolution skills related to teamwork include:
- Negotiation skills.
- Decision-making skills.
- Stress management.
- Ability to work well under pressure.
How to hone your teamwork skills
Improving your teamwork skills will make you a better employee and can lead to increased workplace success and enjoyability. Here are a few ways you can work to improve your teamwork skills at work:
- Ask for feedback. A great way to determine any areas of weakness related to your teamwork skills is to ask for feedback from a colleague or trusted friend. Ask them for feedback related to your weaknesses and strengths in a team setting and then make an effort to improve the specific areas mentioned.
- Look to your team leader. Watching what other strong leaders and members of teams do and how they act is a great way to determine areas you can improve upon in relation to your own teamwork skills. When you notice instances of great teamwork, keep this in mind and try to mimic these behaviors in your own interactions with your team.
- Practice communication. Communication skills are essential to good teamwork skills, so spend time focusing on improving how you communicate with team members and others in your workplace. Practice being as clear and concise as possible when communicating and take extra time to review emails before pressing send.
Using teamwork skills at work
There are several ways you can incorporate teamwork skills into your everyday work life. These include:
- Be reliable. Reliability is an important teamwork skill that can easily be used at work. When you’re trusted with time-sensitive tasks, make an effort to complete them by their due date. Stick to deadlines and do your fair share of work when participating in team activities.
- Show respect. Showing respect for your team members and others in your workplace is a good way to practice teamwork. People are more open and receptive to working with those who are respectful and also feel like they are being heard and understood when communicating with respectful individuals.
- Manage your time. Time management is a teamwork skill that allows you to successfully complete your part of a work task and contribute to the team as a whole. Make it a point to effectively manage any tasks assigned to you when working on a team so that your teammates aren’t left hanging when your part of the task is due.
Highlighting your teamwork skills
You can highlight your teamwork skills in various ways throughout the hiring process, including on your resume, cover letter, and in interviews:
On your resume
Include relevant teamwork-related skills in both the skills section of your resume and in the description of your past work history. Use terms specifically mentioned in the job posting that you’re applying to.
On your cover letter
Choose one or two teamwork skills to highlight in the body of your cover letter, and expand on them by including a specific example for each of when you used that skill in the past.
In an interview
Be prepared to discuss all teamwork skills mentioned on the job posting in an interview. Go to the interview prepared with several examples of times in which you used each skill in previous work positions.