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The Impact of Teamwork in the Workplace (Part 1)

The Impact of Teamwork in the Workplace (Part 1)

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 8, Episode 2
  • Listen as Adam Hickman discusses the impact of teamwork in the workplace, and Gallup's data that demonstrate the profound effect managers can have on their teams.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

Adam Hickman, Content Manager at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 1 of this four-part webcast focusing on managers and their teams, Adam talks about teams and the important role that managers play in their teams' engagement. He presents five C's, supported by Gallup data, that are crucial for managers to implement as they seek to foster increased engagement.

Access Part 2 of the webcast series on managers and their teams, plus Part 3 and Part 4 of this 4-part series.


Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

We've created the ultimate guide to improving teamwork in the workplace!

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison and live from the Gallup offices here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on January 10, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:20

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you are listening live, we'd love to have you join us in our chat room. It's available, there's a link right above -- I used to do this, but now, right above the video -- I only do that for you, Adam. Right above the video window, will drop you into our YouTube instance and there's a chat room that is there. Hey, while you're there on YouTube, go ahead and subscribe there so that you'll get notifications every time we go live. Click on the notification bell as well so you know what we're doing. And you will get notified of those as well. Don't forget, you can also download these on your favorite podcasting app just search Gallup Webcasts. Love to have you subscribe there as well. If you have any questions after the fact, if you're listening to the recorded version, you can send us an email:

Jim Collison 1:10

Adam Hickman is our guest today. Adam is Gallup's Content Manager here at Gallup, and my go-to guy for anything data. Adam, welcome to Called to Coach.

Adam Hickman 1:20

Thanks, Jim.

Jim Collison 1:21

Yeah, good -- good to have you here today. We are really spending the day or this time together talking about the impact of teamwork in the workplace. I think all of Gallup is on a "teams and managers kick" for for all of 2020, as we are kind of building a content hub -- portal around teams and managers. Today with you, we really want to talk about -- and you just posted an article about this at that the link will be in the show notes to it. So if people want to go out and get that as well, they could search for it. And you'll tell them how to search for it and find it. But today we want to talk a little bit about the importance of a manager, and we have some data kind of around this. Thinking about, Why have we decided as a Gallup collective to really focus on managers for 2020? With the release of It's the Manager in 2019, and one of the bestselling books, quickest to sell 100,000 on Amazon, we have found a great success and a great hunger for this. But why -- why is this important to us?

Adam Hickman 2:22

I mean, first, it's, it's the thing that we struggle the most with as managers is I can coach individualized to people, but how do you do that to teams? And what we've started to uncover is there are tactics and ways that you have to go about doing that. One of the ones I think that's leading that we should first all agree and start with is, How many do you have on a team. So the coaches that are on here, and you work with those individuals, and you could have a variety of 20 to 30, and then how many managers you've run into where they've got more than what we suggest.

Adam Hickman 2:51

So here's the sticky number to stick to this: Teams with fewer than 10 members have the highest and lowest levels of engagement in our database. So you think of, well, 10's not that -- that's not a lot. I mean, people have way more than 10. Well, that's what what our science would support where you're going to see the highest and lowest levels is when they have fewer than that. Well, then you start to drill into why is that the case? Well, how many, how many people can you connect within a day that's truly individualized, where you've done something to develop them, you've done something to engage them? It's hard to reach past 10; you only have 8 to 10 hours a day. Right? So that'd be an hour today and when do you get your work done? I think I've heard from other managers; I've heard them say, well, I don't really get my work done till I get home. Well, yeah, then you've got life at home to deal with as well. So how are you doing that if you've got 40 to 50, right? What are the things that -- to branch into as well?

Jim Collison 3:47

Adam, what else when we think about -- so the the 10 number, but the manager has a certain amount of responsibility or is -- has an effect on their teams and the engagement. What kind of number have we found that -- how are they affecting organizations?

Adam Hickman 4:02

Yeah, our number that we -- you'll see it if you read articles often, you're going to see this number come up because it's so important: up to 70%. So if you're walking in the office, if you're coaching managers coming in the office today, 70% of that is tied back to their engagement. So then if you think of, I always ask, like, Well, why? What's in that 70%? What are you doing in that 70%? The two things that they should focus in on -- and I think it's so important to keep this in mind -- is they got to, you should be developing your employees, you should be keeping them engaged. If that is at the forefront of every conversation you have with your managers, you're doing right, because at least you'll know you're going to exceed that 70%. But if not, know that you've got up to 70% of that team engagement's all around the manager's responsibility,

Jim Collison 4:47

And how important is conflict management from a team perspective? I know, like nobody wants to deal with this, right? Nobody loves conflict. But how important that is from from a manager's perspective?

Adam Hickman 4:58

If, if you do have conflict in -- and let's face it, everyone's going to have conflict -- it doesn't destroy strong teams; it's going to narrow the focus for them. So if you think of it, even in your own personal example, make this real for you. When there is conflict, what do you do? Well, you don't worry about notifications on your phone; you don't worry about what's for dinner; it narrows your focus. That's no different than what we've discovered with teams. When you've got a strong team together and there is conflict, it narrows the focus; that's how you can kind of, you know, individualize not only to the group, but to the team.

Jim Collison 5:31

And how important -- when we think about the role of a manager in the personal lives of their employees, I think, you know, we've separ -- oftentimes in the corporate world, we separate it at work and personal life. We call it a balance, but how important is it? Or what are we finding in our, in our data about the importance of understanding what's going on in the personal lives of those that they're managing?

Adam Hickman 5:52

Yeah, what our science would support is the strong teams are committed to their personal lives just as well as their work and working life as well. Jim, I think we're a good example of that. Right? I'll bug you regardless of the day of the week. And then there's times I wonder, I'm like, does Jim sleep at all? Because he's all -- I can't -- I always see his notifications on my phone. And then I think even, even in our own personal use, some will say, Well, how does it work at Gallup? Well, we're a great example of that. But there's also other great workplaces that you can read about and see in our articles and things that we publish that they're doing the same thing, where it's hard to say that you can -- that there is a balance. Because I don't consider there is; I don't I don't think there needs to be. If you, if you love what you do, and you're in the right fit for the role, then it feeds into one another. I talk about where,

Adam Hickman 6:37

I mean -- as silly as it sounds, my kids know I own two [types of] shirts: I own Gallup shirts and I own Michigan shirts. That's it. That's all I need. Right? And it just it feeds into your life; it feeds into everything outside of that. And I was I was sharing before the show. I've got a Gallup World Poll book from 1935 forward, and when the when the conversations are low on personal life, I go to that book to say, Hey, let's figure out what America was talking about in 1935. Now does everyone do that? I hope not! But if you do, let me know, I'd love to have a conversation with you. But it just it feeds in; strong teams do the same thing. That's, that's, that's exactly how we tie back to it.

Jim Collison 7:11

So if we're talking about strong teams, we're going to spend the kind of the remainder, the balance of our time giving some advice, and actually over the rest of this series. So this is Part 1 of a multipart series that we're -- that we're working on together. But, Adam, you have what you call Hickman Team Basics. Let's talk a little bit about that and give some advice.

Adam Hickman 7:31

Sure, so very early on, I think I was 19, I acquired my first team. I think anyone that first takes their team, you say to yourself, "I don't have a clue of what I'm doing. But we're gonna make this work," right? And then, then there comes your talent out of the gate. Let's see how this works. I think there's three -- I would say there's three -- there's three things to keep in mind, right? Your talent, your engagement and your accountability. Mutual or individual, it's totally up to you on how you see that. But those are really just the basics. So I have, What's the town on my team? Right? Who are, who are my star players? How am I working through there? Where am I going to spend my time? The engagement -- if you've not read anything from our Q12, I mean, there's, there's Elements of 12 [12: The Elements of Great Managing]. That's a book that you can read from us that -- anything on our website; just type in "engagement" and have a few hours to read through stuff. And then the accountability pieces, we know, even from our millennial research, millennials, they desire the accountability. I want to know! I will ask my mentor, or my go-to here at Gallup. Tell me when my due date is because it's gonna ignite my Competition. Like if you tell me it's due within the next hour, I'm gonna see if I can get it done within 45 minutes, just -- I enjoy that piece of it. So I think there's that piece of you've got to hold your talent, your engagement and your accountability.

Jim Collison 8:42

You've got some -- Well, on the accountability, let me, let me go back to this for accounting. Why is accountability so important? Like, we know people are craving it, but what's the importance of that and thinking through, as people are asking for it, why are they asking for it?

Adam Hickman 8:58

Yeah, so I'll give you Gallup's point of view then let's talk how this works out. So we know from our millennial research, that's one of the things millennials want the most is that accountability. Then you dig into why that is. On the other side of accountability is recognition. You're being accountable to great work and great things that happen. And I would say, your stars want to be held accountable because they know what they're about to do. They're about to contribute something back to society, to their mission and purpose where they want the sun they want the sunlight on to know that you held me accountable to this and here's, here's what I brought you, which is really great work. Those that don't want the accountability -- you know, I'm probably I'm hoping you didn't have too much experience but you kind of know how that goes.

Jim Collison 9:41

Yeah, and and I you know, when you say that, I always kind of think of, if you if you don't know what you -- a lot of people come in, you know, the first [Q12] question we ask, Do you know what's expected of you? And I'm always surprised, right? We see in our numbers how few people actually know. They're starting a job; they don't know what's expected. They're in a role where they don't know what they're supposed to be doing. And so the role of that manager, really, is right to set up that success for that person -- not only so they understand what they're doing, but also measure and hold them accountable to it. I think a lot of people actually want that in their setting; they want to know they're -- right? -- they want to know they're doing a good job. And that's really a manager's role to make sure that piece is happening.

Jim Collison 10:20

You have kind of five C's to work through in the remainder of the time that we have. When we think about, I think, some easy ways -- when we think about the importance of a manager in a team, and how they can affect that, Adam, walk us through that a little bit and tell us what you've got for us there.

Adam Hickman 10:36

Yeah, the first one I like it's Common Purpose. I'll give you another stat that I just recalled, as you were talking about, what are some other job numbers that we have? We know that when you hire -- when you hire an employee, you get them engaged. Right? No one drives for their first day at work thinking, "This is going to be a bad day!" So our window of opportunity there in that first 3 months is where we see the highest peak of engagement, and then after that, 3 months to 6 months, is where you start to see the managers either do their job or you see a decline in engagement. That's a really great Frank Schmidt study to pick on, to look at.

Adam Hickman 11:08

In that first one, that Common Purpose, it's your managers, you've got the influence over the team culture. So what is the common purpose of your team? Tie back to that question, Do you know what's expected of you at work? Could you ask your -- I remember just asking my team in team meetings, What's the purpose? Why do we exist? Why are we here? What are we doing? Right? And if the questions come back, as, collectively, you're hearing the same thing as to why their position exists, the mission and purpose, then you've done really right. You've had great conversations.

Adam Hickman 11:37

One, one example I didn't include in the article, which I think is cool, is I think of groundskeepers in the corporate offices and the universities. If you ask the groundskeeper what is their mission and purpose of their role, I hope you would hear something to the effect of the experience they create in the environment of the cleanliness, the look, the brand ties back to the student engagement or the student feelings of walking on campus, which initiates their ability to learn and takes that away would be a dream come true. That would be what a Common-Purposed conversation should sound like. That's what you should be leaning towards, to where your employees feel that without you in the room.

Jim Collison 12:14

What about Connecting the team together? So we've talked about that creating [Common] Purpose, and man, if the manager doesn't know that the purpose of the team is, right, we've got some issues there. But when we think about Connecting them, what about that?

Adam Hickman 12:26

Yeah, it's just can they relate to one another? Do they have the innate talents that can, you know, be productively applied over and over and over? Do you know who you can team up? If you look at the domains of of your talents, where -- you know, I've got high Ideation. So I need, I need -- as Don Clifton would say, I need an anchor. I'm going to come up with -- how many ideas have I come out with you, Jim, in the last year, and I'm just vetting them out? I'll throw them out there and we'll move on to the next one. But in that team, that connection is, Who else can you team up? Who's your -- who's your anchor?

Jim Collison 12:58

Yeah, and I think even in the settings of, of being strategic as a manager of making sure that connections are happening where they may not naturally happen, right? We have connections that work and, and, and, you know naturally happen within a team where similar goals or similar personalities line up. But oftentimes there are strategic alliances that need to happen in there that the manager can see needed to get within the purpose of what the team is trying to do. But it's not going to naturally happen. And so the manager has got to make sure those connections are happening strategically, maybe even based on strengths. So we've got some things, we've got some tools to work with there. Teams really struggle in the area of Communication. And so talk a little bit about that. I think this is a really common problem -- and, and how important is this from a team perspective?

Adam Hickman 13:45

Yeah, let's start with what doesn't work. What doesn't work is, manager says, "Here's how we're going to communicate. Go!" Here's how it should work: You should individualize to each person. We keep saying that, but I can't say it enough to say, You've got to figure out what's the way that your team likes to communicate. Whether it be through email, it's phone call, you know, we've got a role on our team where I always joke with my my Go-To about, "If my light's green, call me!" I'd rather us talk through things over the phone than send me an email, cause then I can't judge tone and I've got high Analytical. So I start writing a story that doesn't exist. So just -- let's just chat, right?

Adam Hickman 14:23

But how do you have that Connection and Communication where you can effectively with your teammates, teammates, or team members, communicate to one another? Not only just with the manager to the employees, but within the group itself? So if you remove the manager out of the picture, how does your team communicate? If you've got people in different -- as we get more remate -- or matrixed and remote, like we have team members that are, you know, it's not just, Are they available? Well, what time zone are they in? What time zone are they in this week? Right? You know, Jim, when you were, when you were in London recently, How do I get a hold of Jim if I need to? That became a conversation, rather than just "Where's he at? Why isn't he responding? What's going on?" Right? You just have to have that conscious effort behind there. And, and not assume it's a one-way street. It doesn't work that way any longer.

Jim Collison 15:10

I often found when as a manager, when resources would come and say, Hey, I'm having a issue with so-and-so. And I'd always kind of say, Have we actually had a conversation yet? And, and, as a manager, be the facilitator of that conversation. Oftentimes, it doesn't happen in conflict; it won't happen naturally. And as a manager, I kind of have to facilitate those. And every situation's a little bit different, but going in, be the facilitator of those conversations to bring that together.

Jim Collison 15:39

Adam, you -- you mentioned the remote aspect of it, too. And you're -- and some of the work that you've done around remote, right -- we're going more remote, not less, and we've got to figure out how to get this done. I think it won't naturally happen. I think managers have to be very, very intentional about the communication and it working. And maybe not just setting up meetings -- regular reoccurring meetings -- for the team to meet, right, but some strategic ways to make sure it happens. Have you seen -- in the work that you've done around remote workers -- have you seen anything unique or particularly effective when it comes to communicating in this new world of dotted-line responsibilities and people working all over the, all over the planet?

Adam Hickman 16:19

Yeah, and the quick for -- quick answer to this is technology. Not, "Do you have it?" [but] "Are you using it effectively?" You can get a free account for whatever the case may be. But if you don't know how this is going to be leveraged before it's going to be productively applied to work, you've got a free account to something. And the teams that are the most successful have figured out and dialed into what technology works in our industry, in our workplace. And how are we going to use it every single day? What's the integration look like? What's the sustainment look like? So, you know, we have -- we've got a platform that we're really comfortable with and it's, it's always refreshing to see when you make a switch from one thing to the next, what's the speed of adoption? Well, when it's super clear, and you can see how it fits your workstreams, and it just happens, you don't have to worry about it. Your talented employees will figure that out for you.

Jim Collison 17:12

Well, and your fourth "C" is Collaboration, right, and this leads right into that, because these tools lead to that. Talk a little bit more about the importance of Collaboration.

Adam Hickman 17:22

Yeah, so as you're coaching managers, they've got to know this, right? It's a good question to ask: "How does your team build and nurture relationships?" And I would even say, comma, "to get work done." Right? To get the work done. It -- I think our old sentence about, "You get people done through the work," right, is a version of that. And as you're doing that, that doesn't just appear; there's a, there's another conscious effort that has to be done too. How are you going to build and nurture the relationships where you can get work done effectively?

Adam Hickman 17:50

It's not the same for every workstream; it can't work. There's not a, there's not an AI machine. There's not a spreadsheet. There's not a software that you can push a button and it works for here to here. I know that when we work with our graphic designers, there's a different way; with your editors, there's a different way; with your thought leaders, there's a different way. And it's great if one person knows; better when the whole team knows. Because that's what we're aiming at, is when your team can figure out good questions like, Are we easy to work with? How do we how do we build relationships currently? Do I need to -- somebody asked a question in the chat room about the diversity. Do I need to diversify the relationships that we have within the team? And then what else do we need to include?

Adam Hickman 18:30

For the remote aspect, I'd love to throw this question out for folks to start to socialize is, When you're coaching managers that have that, to help build relationships and nurture them, at the end of meetings, give them this sentence: "Who else needs to know about what we just discussed?" It's going to keep you in that that parameter of collaboration, but also makes you think, "This person was in the meeting, we should ..." right? And then push that out to that. So we've never talked with them. Why don't you break in, you know, have that conversation with them to see or let them know what we've talked about. That's how you start to nurture a relationship. But it also keeps that Collaboration going.

Jim Collison 19:05

100% of the employees that I poll say that they don't get enough recognition. I think that's a -- really common across organizations, right, that nobody ever has ever said, "Stop recognizing me. That's too much!" Right? This fifth "C," talk a little bit about the importance of recognition, in a, in a management system.

Adam Hickman 19:23

Yeah. Here's a great example. Would I want a billboard on [U.S. Interstate Highway] 680 here in Ohio with my face on it, saying, "Great job, Adam!" No, I would not. Would I like I Go-To to say, "Hey, Adam, great job!"? Yes. Satisfied. Now, if you're the manager, did you walk around and have that same conversation and know how your person likes to be recognized? Even if they do, maybe there's like, you know what, once a year, like figure out what they want, how they want to be recognized. That's Step 1. Step 2, then is how do you do that for your teams? Because individually, you get work done, but your teams also pulls that straight through as well for you. So if you ask your que -- ask the question, "What's your team's most recent success?" Don't stop there. Right? You got a recent success, open it up! What worked? If you dial backwards, what was the Common Purpose for that success? What was the Connections that were made? How did you Communicate? What was the Collaboration? You can unpack all four of those ones before there on that recent success. But what you're highlighting is, work got done in a way that hit on all four of those. And you're also paying tribute to the team's success as well.

Jim Collison 20:29

Adam, anything else that you would add? We've, we've gone kind of through a quick summary of this. We're going to spend some time with Cathy in the second session. Cathy has coached and worked with managers for many years, and we're going to get some practical application to this as well. But Adam, anything else as we would think about kind of the numbers and the importance behind managers you would add as we wrap this up?

Adam Hickman 20:52

Not on numbers, but as a statement, our -- I would say around Gallup CEO -- or [CTO, Chief Talent Officer] Matt Mosser talks, has taught me, and I know we've put it in some of our courses, that the strong teams are magnets for talent. And I don't think you need a number for this, because as you see in pretty much any sports or any other industries as well, when you've got a close-knit team, you want to be a part of it. And when you're coaching teams, you're coaching managers for those teams. As they get stronger and grow, their brand internally gets stronger and grows, and you'll see people want to cross streams into being a part of that team as well.

Jim Collison 21:27

Yeah, Adam, I really want you to reemphasize that that 70% number, like when when you when you see a number -- you're a numbers guy. When you see that number, what -- just give me a few sentences on what's that really, what's that really say to you?

Adam Hickman 21:42

I think of every conversation, if you're a manager, if like we'll hear in some of our courses, are you telling me that I should be developing and engaging my employee every time we talk to them? Yes! Right? How that's going to come out is in different variations. There's no secret one sentence here, use this, or if you're thinking of, Can I have a template for this? No, because every person is different.

Adam Hickman 22:03

But if 70% of every conversation you're having with your employees is developmental in nature, right? So it's future-oriented; it helps them see and coach along the way; and they're engaged when they're done. It's not a, if you -- I love this one -- if you schedule on someone's calendar, "Coaching at 1:30," what, well, OK. You are, but how about we just have a conversation, right? That's in development in nature and engaging, and not a scheduled coaching in a back room, or at my office, and there's people and words and then there's a follow-up email: Here's what we did; here's what we talked about, in case you can't remember the conversation we just had. Like there's things you can do to install that 70% in every conversation. And I'll tell you, at first, it's daunting to think, "I gotta keep in mind with that." Yes, you do. And the more that you do it and the more that you practice it, it becomes second nature. Right. And then there comes the other pieces that come along with it.

Jim Collison 22:57

Yeah, well Adam, I appreciate you jumping in with us today to really talk about the importance of that, why that matters and some, some numbers behind it. With that, we want to remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available around this. This season, we're building an entire hub around teams and managers. And those will be available. One of the new things we are doing or making available for you in the YouTube description or in the podcast description as you're listening to this. We've placed the link to our -- to this hub. That'll be available for you in there as well. So if you just take a quick swipe through (if you're listening live, you won't see it now, but it's available for you there), get that link, head over there, see the resources we're making for you. We're excited about getting that done. You'll also find the audio and YouTube instance of this program as well as all the past ones that we've done. They're available through our YouTube channel. So just search "CliftonStrengths" on YouTube; pretty easy to remember is that. If you want to subscribe to us as a podcast and the various podcasts we have available for you, search Gallup Webcasts to do that. Also on the post for this, we have a sign-up for the new CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter. You might want to be involved in that as well. You can go to the very bottom of the post and sign up. We'll send that to you every single month. If your organization is struggling to implement anything we discussed, or you've got any questions about this at all, you can send us an email: A complete list of all the courses we have available, including a brand new Boss-to-Coach Journey, which will launch here at the end of January and early February, is available on our courses site. Just go to If you'd like to know when we publish these webcasts each and every month, you can get that through our Eventbrite page. Go to If you want to join us for the the 2020 CliftonStrengths -- oh no, we don't call it that anymore -- the Gallup at Work Summit, that's available out there as well, June 1, 2 and 3. By the way, a CliftonStrengths track in it. So we're excited to have that as well. You can do that: And of course, join us in our Facebook group:, or you can head over to LinkedIn to our CliftonStrengths-Trained Coaches page. You don't have to be a coach to be on that page. Just search for CliftonStrengths-Trained Coaches on LinkedIn. We'd love to have you in that. If you have found this useful, we'd ask that you share it. If you're listening live, hang around for Part 2. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Adam Hickman's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Command, Analytical, Competition and Individualization.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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