The importance of teamwork

WHAT IS IT ABOUT TEAMWORK that glues everyone together? Photo courtesy of Clipart Library

Danielle Generaux | Student Life Editor

What is teamwork, you might ask? Well, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, teamwork is “work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.” This definition of teamwork is broad as it attempts to include the many aspects and tactics in which teamwork is used, mainly as individuals and as a society.

Teamwork is the defining quality of an individual, but how does teamwork affect an individual in that the definition implies the work of multiple individuals to complete a singular task? An individual is affected by every action one takes and the action of effective teamwork can make or break someone.

SEVERAL PEOPLE USING TEAMWORK to complete their task. Photo courtesy of Clipart Library

“Teamwork is really important because oftentimes working together gets problems solved faster and there are more ideas circulating compared to just one person,” senior Jenna Johnson said. “It also lets people hear different perspectives they might not have considered before.”

Unless you plan to start a business with someone, then you are like most of the people in the United States who have to find and work as an independent person. Additionally, most jobs require collaboration skills or are a great tool in job applications.

“It is impossible for one person to be an expert in everything and that is why teamwork is an incredible tool. When there is a diverse group of individuals who share a common goal, teamwork allows them to harness each persons’ strengths in order to create the greatest end product possible,” said junior Madeline McDonald.

But how does one improve those skills? Well, I have come up with a list of three ways one could improve their teamwork skills.

Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand where someone is coming from. This skill helps to make people feel more connected to the conversation. If you are empathetic, you can understand someone’s point of view and learn from it or build on it, even if you don’t agree with it. You can ask people about themselves in order to learn more about their perspective. Trust me, everyone loves talking about themselves. The easiest way to practice this skill is to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

Active listening. Active listening is a pattern of listening when you are in a conversation that keeps you and everyone else in the conversation engaged. This is an important skill to remember when you are at a job interview or in any conversation. It shows that you care about what someone is saying and helps you understand topics better. Easy ways to apply this are to remember in future conversations to make eye contact, nod your head, and ask questions very often. Your conversers will appreciate that you are paying attention to what they have to say.

Practice. The two skills that are described above can be practiced in your everyday life by joining a sport, club, or musical group that requires interaction with other people. Practice makes perfect, so the more you get familiar with using and applying your skills, the more you will get comfortable with it. Eventually, it will come naturally to you and people will be impressed with your ability to engage and listen.

“Through teamwork, humans have been able to create incredible progress in society, things that would be unachievable by a single person. In my personal experience, group projects often lack teamwork thereby causing great challenges. However, when you are fortunate enough to be in a group where everybody pulls their own weight, it can be an amazing experience as it allows you to break down daunting tasks into manageable pieces,” said junior Madeline McDonald.

How, you may ask, is this related to society? Because our society is based on teamwork as we all work together to make a whole, the country. Everyone pulls their weight by working at a job, raising kids, doing community service, and even respecting people around you.

NORMAL PEOPLE COMPLETING MANY DIFFERENT TASKS to contribute to society. Photo courtesy of Clipart Key

We make up the country. We contribute to society. We build the economy. We have flaws. We are the only ones who can unite the country. Some people might not understand, but just by participating in school, they are helping to unite the country. Everyone learns the same things, but may think differently about certain things.

“Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable,” said Joe Biden. “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war,” said Donald Trump. Both these two candidates of the United States Presidency, who have completely different views, have the same view about hard work. The hard work of an individual does not accomplish much, but the hard work of many individuals goes a long way.

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