skip to main content

Teamwork makes the dream work. It's a decent saying, but the advice is incomplete.

When it comes to improving teamwork, defining what improvement looks like is the first step. Improving teamwork is less about doing that literally than it is about establishing the outcome you're trying to improve. One cannot simply "improve teamwork" for the sake of improvement alone. Instead, you and your team are attempting to accomplish something that has yet to be done -- and defining that clearly and often is paramount.

Teamwork cannot exist apart from the "something" that your team is working to accomplish.

Are you trying to achieve your sales goals, drive greater employee performance or create technology to better serve your customer base?

Once you've established the "what," you can focus on working best as a team to achieve those goals (or on driving spirited competition within your team to achieve the goal *nudges the sales department*). This comes from setting your goal(s), understanding how your team collaborates most efficiently and placing individuals in the roles that best fit them, for the success of that individual and of the team.

So quit relying on cheesy sayings to inspire your teams and instead understand the benefits of teamwork, how to build a high-performing team, and learn how to improve teamwork, for real.

Teams impact business outcomes

02 Why is teamwork important in the workplace?

If retaining your best people, driving revenue and engaging your employees are important to your business model, teamwork should be important to you, as well.

Two main ideas must be understood to appreciate the importance of teams in the workplace.

1) Individuals who know their strengths work together to form better partnerships, and more thoughtful partnerships create stronger teams. Strong teams start with the individual.

2) The strengths and dynamics of your team directly affect business outcomes.

Consider your business strictly in terms of its end goal. Are you trying to sell a product, increase donations or provide a service? For a moment, don't think about relationships. As you think about your goal, you should consider all business components that directly affect it. Now reintroduce the relationships -- your people matter, and the way your teams work together matters to the business goals of your organization.

Strong teams start with the individual.

Consider this fact about CliftonStrengths: When predicting both engagement and performance, a team's awareness of their strengths is more important than the specific composition of those strengths. In other words -- just knowing your strengths, as well as the strengths of your partners, leads to higher engagement and performance.

Higher levels of engagement affect business outcomes such as:

41%
lower absenteeism

24%
lower turnover (high-turnover orgs):

17%
higher productivity

21%
higher profitability

It's clear, teamwork and team building are important in the workplace.

When team members value each other's strengths, they more effectively relate to one another, avoid potential conflicts, boost group cohesion and create positive dialogue.

One of the most difficult tasks for an individual is easily explaining what they're good at. You can say you're "organized," but that could mean different things for different people.

Because strong teams begin at the individual level, the research-based CliftonStrengths assessment is a powerful tool that gives people a common language and vocabulary they can use to better describe, communicate with and understand each other. After acknowledging the importance of teamwork in the workplace and the power of knowing your strengths, take the next step by giving power to those strengths through CliftonStrengths.

When you have people in roles that fit their strengths and talents, their energy and passion can fuel their own great performance and inspire the same from their partners.


Teamwork begins with the individual, grows when individuals build powerful partnerships and culminates when the team uses their collective talents and strengths.

Consider these items that great teams have in common:

  • Team members can name and understand the individual talents of everyone on the team.
  • Team members can see a clear connection between each other's strengths and behavior. They can see the link between strengths and success.
  • Everyone on the team has partnerships that encourage their strengths development.
  • Team members use their knowledge of each other's strengths to plan, strategize, analyze and direct their actions.

Do you want to be a great team, or take your already-great team to the next level?

Break down your possible "next steps" into the "best next step." Focus on one piece at a time. There is a zero percent chance that every team will go about improving teamwork in the same way, so recall that first, you should establish goals and then consider how teamwork helps achieve those business goals.

Decide what it is you're trying to achieve. Learn your strengths. Get to work.

Action Items

  • Check the pulse of your team by asking them about their perceptions of teamwork in your workplace.
  • Decide whether teamwork is seen as important or unimportant to your organization and specify a simple goal that your team can achieve as a first step.
  • Write down team goals you want to achieve or business outcomes you want to improve to narrow your focus. Then, set specific dates you want to achieve these goals.
Laying a foundation

03 Improving Teamwork in the Workplace

Let's get right to it. Here are some first steps, ideas and action items to start improving teamwork.

Initial Steps to Improve Teamwork

Setting goals is an integral part of improving teamwork. How can people do the things they do best when a) they don't know what they're supposed to be doing and b) they aren't given time to consider what brings them energy?

Begin by describing what each employee is supposed to accomplish, not how they are supposed to accomplish it. Explain expectations in terms of the outcomes the employee needs to achieve to reach team goals. How each employee goes about meeting these expectations will vary -- but if you've hired adults and you trust the adults you've hired, you need to give them the freedom to work the way they know best.

Begin by describing what each employee is supposed to accomplish, not how they are supposed to accomplish it.

Next, outline quality standards for each task or function on the team. When team members know what excellence looks like, they can deliver quality work. How does excellence look for the account lead on this project? What about the copywriter or the sales manager or the technology developer? Surely excellence looks different for each: define excellence to deliver quality.

Finally, know the strengths of your team members, and help them learn their strengths. Give each person time to self-reflect and consider what they do best, what gets in the way of their excellence, what they consistently deliver, and so on. We know CliftonStrengths is the best way to name, aim and claim those natural strengths, but for the sake of starting, begin with reflection -- and continue reading for more about CliftonStrengths and teamwork.

Now you have clear goals, everyone on the same page for standards of excellence, and the right people in the right roles performing the tasks.

Improved Teamwork Impacts Company Culture

Another area where you can improve teamwork, and start today, is by recognizing quality work and achievements. When you reward team members for quality work, they will repeat what they have done, and the entire team gains a greater understanding of what excellence looks like.

Changing a culture doesn't happen without taking those initial steps. So when something like recognizing employees for their excellent work and contributions improves both teamwork and culture, you should take advantage of it.

By recognizing quality work, a team may experience greater emotional loyalty among individual members -- this is one of three characteristics that constitute a well-connected team, which, in turn, impacts the culture. These characteristics are:


Trust

confidence in one another's reliability and dependability

Teamwork

appreciation of one another's talents and strengths and recognition that these talents and strengths enable everyone to tackle challenges together

Emotional loyalty

a deep-seated loyalty to the team


These ideas of trust and emotional loyalty lay the foundation to start thinking about long-term teamwork solutions.

Long-Term Teamwork Solutions

Don't get too caught up in long-term teamwork solutions if you have yet to implement the above suggestions for improving teamwork. However, it would be wise during the first stages of building a stronger team to ask team members to make note of the things that prevent them from doing quality work, as well as the things that make doing quality work easier.

Discussing roadblocks to excellence as a team encourages everyone to contribute ideas about how to remove them.

Begin establishing partnerships where you see someone else's strengths complementing yours. Find the partners who love doing things you dread. The ones who think of ideas much differently than you and who approach projects, relationships, and conversations in a new way. Read more about strong partnerships in How to Build a Better Team.

Finally, you should consider your conversations. Begin by having a conversation with your team about the future of the team and identify common themes you hear when listening to team members' responses. Read the next section for more on conversations that improve teamwork.

More About CliftonStrengths and Teamwork

Teams that use their strengths perform better. Period.

Your strengths -- the ability to deliver consistent, near-perfect performance in a specific task -- are simply your talents -- a natural way of thinking, feeling or behaving -- multiplied by the investment -- time spent practicing, developing skills and building a knowledge base.

People are not meant for high performance or excellence in every category, that's a foundational truth in understanding high performance. We need people who are stars, not well-rounded. You can't be a star in every area, but every area has a star performer. Teams should be made of those individuals.

For too long, the focus in the workplace has been on individual employees or team members developing weaknesses rather than reinforcing their strengths. The goal is not to have a team comprised of individuals who are each well-rounded, but instead to have well-rounded teams comprised of individuals performing in light of their strengths. This, alone, is one of the greatest reasons why teamwork is important in the workplace.

Excellence is not achieved in isolation. Excellence is created through the merging of people's differing strengths. Once each team member's strengths are aimed at the same purpose and teams are aligned on goals, this is where true excellence and success happens. So, encourage collaboration among team members who have complementary strengths. Better yet, model these healthy partnerships and show that teamwork is important.

Individuals who feel they are part of a team that is committed to quality are safer, better with customers, less likely to quit their jobs and more productive -- further proving the importance of teamwork. Identify your team's and your strengths. Have a conversation with each individual on your team, as well as in a group setting. Talk about what each person brings individually to the team, and then collectively and about how those individual efforts work together.

The goal is not to have a team comprised of individuals who are each well-rounded, but instead to have well-rounded teams comprised of individuals performing in light of their strengths.

The CliftonStrengths assessment is a research-based assessment that transforms great potential into greater performance. The assessment offers actionable, legitimate insights into how to work better as a team as you fully understand your strengths, as well as the strengths of your partners.

Simplified, the first step to improving teamwork is through knowing your team's strengths. Know where you and your team members thrive because of your strengths -- which come naturally -- and build stronger teams, thus improving teamwork.

Continue reading the rest of this page for more insights into improving teamwork, conversations, the manager's and executive's roles in teamwork, collaboration, team exercises and creating high-performing teams.

Action Items

  • Complete a goal audit; make sure you're describing what people should accomplish, not how to accomplish it.
  • Choose a team or organizational goal you'd like your team to achieve. Outline quality standards for each task or function that lead to the goal.
  • Based on your employees' roles and strengths, place them in positions that help the team achieve quality success in your goals.
  • Ask your team what gives them energy and what drains their energy. This will help individuals identify potential partnerships and improve team awareness.
Drive Performance

04 Conversations That Improve Teamwork

Without effective ongoing conversations between managers and employees, the success of any goals and performance metrics is left to chance. In most companies, objectives change as business needs shift throughout the year, and change often creates anxiety and confusion. But with ongoing coaching, employees are more likely to have clear expectations that align with the overall business, so they can better handle change with confidence and clarity.

The five conversations that drive performance, according to Gallup's bestselling book It's the Manager, are a practical framework for how and when to establish expectations, continuously coach and create accountability.

Primary objective:

Get to know each individual and their strengths and to establish expectations that align with the person's strengths and the organization's overall objectives.

These conversations allow managers to define what success looks like in the individual's role and how their work relates to their coworkers' expectations.

Primary objective:

Help employees know if they're on the right track so they can proceed without unnecessary barriers. Managers can give employees timely recognition for a success, discuss anything that's getting in the way of their progress or just touch base.

This quick connect conversation should be encouraged among teammates, as well. Teammates can brainstorm new ideas, process externally or rely on strong partnerships to help them manage their workloads.

Primary objective:

More planned than quick connects, these conversations happen less frequently, where managers and employees review successes and barriers and align and reset priorities.

Once again, managers should encourage employees to engage in planned "check-ins" with teammates, as well. These conversations are especially helpful for recurring projects and partnerships where planned check-in times could provide stability and even help it flourish, in turn, creating a stronger team.

Primary objective:

To give the employee direction, support and advice when they are exploring career, aspirational or developmental opportunities.

This conversation can be very encouraging for employees as the focus is to be on the strengths and accomplishments of the employee rather than their weaknesses. At face value, this may not seem like an essential conversation for improving teamwork. However, try to recall that strong teams start with the individual.

Primary objective:

Use these conversations as a powerful coaching tool by focusing on celebrating success, preparing for future achievements, and planning for development and growth opportunities.

Consider the team aspect of progress reviews and ask employees to identify their best partners.

To help guide coaching behaviors, managers should ensure their ongoing performance conversations are:


Frequent

Know each employee's preferences regarding communication and coaching. Don't constantly ask for progress reports. Instead, touch base with them at least weekly.

Focused

Keep coaching conversations focused by knowing the purpose and expectations of each conversation. This helps prevent discussions from becoming transactional in nature -- which often makes them feel disingenuous or unnecessary.

Future-oriented

The best managers don't primarily give reactive feedback on past performance; rather, they proactively provide advice and strategies for achieving outstanding performance in the future.


*When performance corrections are needed, managers need to coach forward by focusing on what can be done differently in the future rather than focusing on the mistakes of the past.

Action Items

  • For managers: Set time on your calendar for the next couple months to check in with each of your employees.
  • For employees: Reach out to your manager and request a time to check in. Have a few talking points you'd like to discuss and ask about making check-ins a regular occurrence.
  • Team bonding doesn't have to be formal. Stop avoiding your coworkers in the copy room, hallways or lunch line. Chat about work, chat about life, just start forming those meaningful relationships.
IT'S The Manager

05 Leading a Team: The Manager's Role in Teamwork

Managers are important. Seventy percent of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager. That's a big stat -- all things related to teamwork fall back on the manager -- so let's rephrase, managers are the most important.

Great managers provide a clear definition of quality work and link this description to performance standards. When team members know what excellence looks like, they can better deliver quality work.

Managers should not assume that employees always know how to accomplish their goals. Even if a manager and employee initially set goals together, circumstances and priorities still change.

It's vital that the manager keeps the team moving in the same direction while keeping a pulse on the context in which their employees are living and working. Imagine if you were in the hospital for a month, and the nurse only came in once to check your vitals. Is it nice that they came in to see how you were doing? Well, yeah, but they're not really doing their job. Wouldn't it have been nicer if they came in daily, maybe even multiple times a day? Of course.

The same idea applies to managers. Between regular meetings, planned check-ins and spontaneous touch bases, managers will see the full spectrum of work that their team is accomplishing. In terms of teamwork, the manager is the one who is setting the expectations, highlighting opportunities to improve team collaboration, and oftentimes distributing the workload. This can only happen successfully when the manager chooses to remain involved in and engaged with their team.

Sound like an insurmountable expectation? This is where knowing your team's strengths saves the day. Each person may define teamwork/approach teamwork differently. Gathering individual employee's ideas about teamwork (what they expect and what they need) will give you a solid foundation that carries the weight of all your responsibilities as a manager. Talk about your approach and use strengths-based conversations to help set and manage expectations related to goals and performance. This is the job of the manager.

It's a tall order, which is why "leading people should not be a reward; it should be a responsibility that requires talent and training. And that training must include expertise in the most important part of any organization -- its people."

Simply knowing one's strengths is not enough to make a difference in performance. Managers need to have a conversation with team members so they recognize not only who they are, but also what they are capable of becoming.

To help team members understand and use their strengths, managers must ask themselves two questions: Am I an expert on my team members' strengths? Do all of my team members know and appreciate their unique strengths and contributions?

Think about the dynamics or the makeup of your team. If you were asked to describe how your group works as a team or define their processes, could you do it?

Knowing the individual strengths of each team member is important, but the collective strengths of your team are equally important. It's important to visually display the makeup of your team. CliftonStrengths grids show the order of a team's strengths and provide invaluable insights into the way that team operates. There are four domains that each strength fits within. These are the Strategic Thinking domain, the Executing domain, the Relationship Building domain and the Influencing domain. If your team is heavily driven by relationships, you ought to manage them in a much different way than if they were heavy strategic thinkers.

CliftonStrengths Team Grid

A CliftonStrengths team grid illustrates each individual member’s 34 strengths organized by domain. Each member is listed for easy team strengths comparison.

As a manager, it's your responsibility to know your team, inside and out.

Indefinitely, it's the manager's job to provide work that fits each employee's needs rather than giving them work that drains them. Although it's true that, eventually, each employee will have to do work they don't enjoy (i.e., filling out expense reports), knowing what gives people energy and giving them the opportunity to do that thing can make up for it.

One final aspect of the manager's role in teamwork is to serve as the cultural conduit between executives -- who define and support the company's mission, purpose and goals -- and their employees, the ones doing the operational work that should connect to the mission, purpose and goals.

It's The Manger book cover

It's the Manager

This important job requires frequent communication and someone willing to help employees connect their individual roles to the greater mission and purpose of the organization.

It's a tall order, which is why "leading people should not be a reward; it should be a responsibility that requires talent and training. And that training must include expertise in the most important part of any organization -- its people."

Action Items

  • Set aside time to outline standards for quality work. You can't communicate expectations to your employees without understanding them yourself.
  • Meet with your team to focus on engagement only. Intersperse team-building activities with questions to get to know your team better.
  • With your team's strengths in mind, consider how and when they do their best and worst work. Invite your team into this discussion if you're comfortable -- but learn how the team is wired and leverage those strengths.
Inspire Employees And Define Excellence

06 Leading a Team: The Executive's Role in Teamwork

"Bet your leadership job on this: When team inspiration grows, client buildouts, revenue and quality earnings grow."

An executive's role in teamwork is similar in some ways to the manager's role. However, they should be more focused on what's happening behind the scenes.

Executives can inspire teamwork through defining the organization's mission, purpose and values.

From an executive's standpoint, their role in teamwork has seemingly fewer immediate connections to the concept. This is because they're driving the larger mission and goals, while communicating to managers and employees how their specific jobs connect to those greater goals.

It's important for executive leaders to set priorities, have discipline and follow through. They should be investing time, resources and energy into their managers because they understand the two non-negotiable traits for leaders.

1. Bring multiple teams together: Executives need a well-defined and well-articulated mission and purpose that everyone can easily relate back to the work they do every day -- their contribution.

2. Understand how you make decisions, then make great ones: Leaders must have an honest understanding of their decision-making limits (strengths and weaknesses), apply critical thinking, and use analytics-driven evidence (what do the numbers say?).

In addition to inspiring their people, executives must focus on those two traits.

Consider a culture that might be the opposite of one that promotes teamwork -- one that promotes entitlement. While cultivating a culture of entitlement may not be intentional, it can happen when executives make poor leadership decisions and focus on the wrong aspects of culture. For example, if an executive makes providing free, daily lunches a higher priority than the mission and purpose of an organization, entitlement will begin to define the culture. The executive may find teams complaining that the chef is no longer up to par, or maybe that the food isn't as good as it once was. Perhaps the quality declined … or maybe employees are searching for something greater than a perk.

Bottom line -- if executives don't create the culture, the culture will create itself. This leaves you and your organization susceptible to losing your best employees.

According to the bestselling book, It's the Manager, only 27% of employees strongly believe in their company's values. And Gallup's research reveals that less than half of U.S. employees (41%) strongly agree that they know what their organization stands for and what makes it different from its competitors.

Philosophically, if executives have a perspective that positions the mission, purpose and values at the core and communicates this to managers, business outcomes and culture remain the focus.

According to the bestselling book, It's the Manager:

27%
of employees strongly believe in their company's values
41%
strongly agree that they know what their organization stands for and what makes it different from its competitors

Stop Hoarding Talent and Get Practical About Teamwork

Ever heard of talent hoarding? One sure way to improve teamwork in the workplace as an executive is to encourage talent sharing and be aware of talent hoarding.

Talent hoarding is when your star talents are being left without developmental opportunities because they are consistently resourced to the same people or projects. The personal priorities of some managers keep the best talent working for them -- and when your "best employees believe that the only way up is out, you have a serious retention issue on your hands."

Talent sharing, or proactively moving stars to new roles or having conversations about growth and development, is a great way for executives to help improve teamwork in the workplace.

Bottom line -- if executives don't create the culture, the culture will create itself. This leaves you and your organization susceptible to losing your best employees.

In the end, the executive is the one who needs to get practical about teamwork. Know when it's going to fuel a team or when there is an intentional design to exclude teamwork. For example, collaboration and open communication may be encouraged -- but competitive, more individualized work comes with the job (i.e., sales, recruiters, etc.). Executives should know where friction or healthy conflict is intentional.

Teamwork is not always defined by "getting along," but rather, should be about having respect for individual ideas and personalities. In other words, teamwork has a couple faces -- but it's up to the executive to handle the tension between great products and outcomes, as well as great relationships.

Action Items

  • Take a look at your mission, purpose and values -- do they exist so you can say you have them or are they driving business decisions?
  • What's one business outcome you want to change (retention, engagement, absenteeism, profit)? Think of all the ways (and get as creative as you can) that improving teamwork may affect that outcome.
  • Read Gallup's CHRO insights to better understand what is on the minds of the top CHROs from around the world.
The Changing Workplace

07 Effective Team Collaboration, Teamwork Across Teams and Difficult Team Dynamics

An important step to understanding your team and improving teamwork is to define your team -- as teams today aren't as straightforward as they used to be.

Gallup finds 84% of U.S. employees are "matrixed" to some extent -- that is, they might work on multiple teams every day, reporting to the same or different managers.

Matrixed team structures can help companies be more nimble, especially in an increasingly agile workforce era. To move projects across team lines quickly without sacrificing quality for speed is a challenge. This is where teamwork across multiple teams, as well as increased communication and collaboration become even more important.

Just as a matrixed structure doesn't automatically make companies more focused, adaptable or agile -- neither does placing individuals on highly-matrixed teams make them better at teamwork or great at collaborating with their partners. Here are two items to help increase productivity and successful collaboration across teams:

Get clear on expectations. To build clarity, leaders need to actively create a culture of dialogue between managers and employees. Maintaining open lines of communication on a day-to-day basis will help bring clarity to foggy expectations (i.e., remember the importance of ongoing conversations).

Emphasize your job's (or your employees' jobs') connection to the greater purpose. Consider what we said earlier on: Teamwork is nonexistent apart from the "something" that your team is working toward together. If a team member is unable to see how their presence on a team or role is connected to the greater purpose, they will be less engaged and committed.

Flextime is another component of the changing workplace that is impacting the way teams interact, thus, changing the way a team may approach traditional teamwork skills. Flexibility in the workplace can look different than simply where and when people work. Some more examples are: type of work, organizational structure, culture and work environment, and roles. To improve teamwork among employees who take advantage of flextime, managers must preach the ultimate outcome of flexible work: autonomy with accountability.

Think about how to build trust in a team -- first, you must model trust for your team. Having a real flexible work environment starts with your leaders and their responses to employees who use the flexible work options your organization provides. Instilling trust among employees gives individuals the confidence to work together as a team by relying on the simple idea that they are trusted.

Managers build trust through individualization, keeping their promises and frequent conversations. Consider employees who work remotely. A good bit of face time during onboarding helps establish this trust, as well as annual in-person meetings once the worker is established. These meetings can be more social than not, but there's always a business case to be made for face-to-face conversations. For example, this may mean choosing to use the video function, in addition to the audio function, when meeting with remote workers.

It is only when managers understand the importance of their relationship with their remote employees that they can begin to individualize their approach to helping these workers achieve higher performance, as well as encourage collaboration and teamwork among traditional and remote employees.

Isolation is one aspect of remote work that can have a negative impact on performance, even though some would argue that being alone is the point of working remotely -- to be able to isolate yourself for maximum focus. Managers must understand that the expectations of remote workers are different than those of on-site workers, especially if remote workers feel isolated. Even remotely, employees want to feel as though they are part of a team.

With these changing components of the workplace and the constant attempts at figuring out how to build an effective team, conflict is sure to arise.

Navigating tough team dynamics, whatever the cause, can be a wildly uncomfortable topic for some. But conflict and friction following a change in traditional team structure is nothing more than a classic cause-and-effect relationship. When navigating tough dynamics, remember these two things:

1) Start strengths-based conversations at an individual level as individual ownership is vital to strongly collaborative team cultures.

2) Embrace conflict, don't avoid it. High-performing teams recognize that conflict is a natural consequence of collaboration. Engage in authentic dialogue with the expectation that you'll reach a conclusion.

Action Items

  • Think about the teams on which you're currently serving. What is the greater purpose of the team? What goals are you trying to achieve? And how do you connect to that?
  • Reach out to your best partners and thank them for their talents, gifts and partnership.
  • When having a meeting with a remote worker, use video instead of only audio.
Benefit Of Team Building

08 How to Build a Better Team

Build a better team the same way you'd build anything else, piece by piece.

Although they don't have to be in this order, consider these steps to building a better team as an invitation to something greater.

1) Give people the opportunity to do what they do best.
2) The most effective teams trust one another to deliver quality work, so share a common definition of quality and talk about quality as a fundamental value of the team.
3) Create an opportunity for two employees to work on a project together so that they can each do what they do best and possibly develop a closer relationship. As the pairs find better ways to work together, their insights about partnerships lead to enhanced trust and relationships across the whole team over time.
4) Set goals for your team that align with the overall mission, purpose and vision of the organization.
5) Lead open discussions about recent problems your team has faced. Talk about what went wrong but focus more on best practices for the future.
6) Identify and discuss quality with your team. Learn what quality means to them and the things they do to foster high-quality standards.
7) Share best practices. From research or experience, maybe both, share some of the best practices for teamwork in the workplace and encourage others to share theirs.

Action Items

  • Pick two of these steps and set a date for deployment.
  • Find a partner who can help you get these steps started -- it's important to create momentum at the start.
Rethinking Group Exercises

09 Team Building Activities for Work

A team's success ultimately depends on its ability to perform and achieve its goals. So make sure your team is ready to do just that!

When team members are aware of one another's talents, they are more likely to understand how each person naturally thinks, feels and acts. This awareness helps the team navigate issues and realize how they can work best together to accomplish goals and achieve objectives.

The 40 exercises in our CliftonStrengths Team Activities Guide can be categorized into four sections (four goals): enhance self-awareness, develop partnerships, build strengths-based teams and improve performance. Within the action items of this section, you will find a team exercise that we've pulled from the guide to feature. Download this sample activity or get the whole activities guide here.

Cover of CliftonStrengths Team Activities Guide

CliftonStrengths Team Activities Guide

When deciding on teamwork activities, remember that exercises and activities should have a greater purpose. Need help deciding whether one is meaningful or inconsequential? Relate it back to these five broader activities that improve teamwork.


Common Purpose

Identifying team goals and objectives and what collective team strengths contribute to success.

Connection

What actions keep teams connected, who keeps teams connected, how to build and nurture team relationships.

Communication

The effectiveness, accuracy, speed and strategy of communication.

Collaboration

How your team builds and nurtures relationships, works together, makes decisions and appreciates everyone's talents and strengths.

Celebration

Focus on your team's recent successes and how you celebrated those successes. Think about what motivates your team and how you publicize their success.


If your teamwork activities don't fit into one of these categories somehow, find team building exercises that do! Here is one to get you started.

Action Items

Download this teamwork activity to learn how to create a teamwork environment through your individual contributions to the team!

Success Stories

10 How to Build a Successful Team: Insights Into Two High-Performing Teams

A strengths-based culture isn't a "soft idea" or simply a "nice dream." Instead, it represents a cultural shift in the workplace where each employee is encouraged to use and invest in their strengths, which directly affects business outcomes -- and there's nothing soft about that.

See how two companies, Southwest Airlines and Stryker, have implemented a strengths-based culture with CliftonStrengths -- and hear from real employees about just how much CliftonStrengths has changed the game both professionally and personally for them.

These high-performing teams represent best practice commitment to the development of teams and organizational culture.

Start Today

Final Checklist for Improving Teamwork

  • Ask your team what gives them energy and what drains their energy. Ask yourself the same questions. This will help individuals identify potential partnerships and improve individual and team awareness.
  • Have a conversation with your team about the future of the team and identify common themes you hear when listening to team members' responses.
  • Complete a goal audit; make sure you're describing what people should accomplish, not how to accomplish it.
  • Think of one business outcome you want to change (retention, engagement, absenteeism, profit). Now think of all the ways (and get as creative as you can) that improving teamwork may affect that outcome.
  • For managers: Set time on your calendar, it doesn't have to be more than 30 minutes, for the next couple of months to check in with each of your employees.
    For employees: Reach out to your manager and request time to check in. Have a few talking points you'd like to discuss and ask about making 30-minute check-ins a regular occurrence.
  • Think about the teams on which you're currently serving. What is the greater purpose of the team? What goals are you trying to achieve? And how do you connect to those goals?
  • Lead open discussions about recent problems your team has faced. Talk about what went wrong, but focus more on best practices for the future.
  • Identify and discuss quality with your team. Learn what quality means to them and the things they do to foster high-quality standards.

Start Improving Your Team Today

Congratulations! Now that you know everything that's needed to improve teamwork at your organization, check out more resources and information about CliftonStrengths.

We're excited for you and your team to start seeing improved outcomes immediately!