The Importance of Teamwork

At the Career Development Services, we work closely with students completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Employability course. In this Wisdom Wednesday post, Mike, a student at the University of Bradford on this course, discusses his views on Teamworking as inspired by the course.


Together Everyone Achieves More is one common acronym. I was lucky enough to be involved in picking man of the match at Bradford City at the weekend. It was an exciting experience. I was stood next to the club captain who was preparing for battle. It reminded  me of the film Invictus with Matt Damon: ‘I am the captain of my soul.’ We are going out there to be the masters of our circumstances, captains of industry. Our job is up to us. Our fate is in our hands. We will work hard at university and we will work hard in our careers. Our career is a way of life and is going to take work. But within this, teamwork is important.

I have learnt that there are a lot of different people in the work place and sometimes you have to work with people you don’t get on with. Some people, perhaps naturally, are determined that their own self-promotion is a priority and can therefore be more difficult to work with. In my opinion, organisations are more productive and make fewer mistakes when they are a working a group of people who get on well, even if they have different skills and possibly different goals.

So, what is team-working? A team is defined as “a small number of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and a working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. Teams can be small, have complementary skills, a common purpose, a common approach, mutual accountability and performance goals.

Football and sports teams are also good examples. There is a common phrase used with players such as David Beckham that “no player is bigger than the club”. In other words, the club as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This does not mean that the individual is not important, but that the achievements go beyond the individual’s own accomplishment. In order for a team to succeed a team player puts their own interests to one side and co-operates with the rest of the group to achieve the goal. Even when I play football as a way of having some fun and exercise, it can also mean working together and being competitive as a group instead of as an individual.

It is also important in the work place to be able to work in groups and value teamwork. I have had experience working with diverse people in different jobs. For example, I had the good fortune to recently go with the Law Society on a paint-balling excursion. I personally think that day trips like these are an excellent way of getting to know people and having fun at the same time (without anyone getting hurt). I give credit to the organisers who know that by working in teams outside of work it builds relationships and helps people achieve goals.

I have also worked with the theatre club to put on a show and it is true that different people have different skills, such as singing, acting, playing instruments, directing, working behind the scenes or in the theatre. You can see how these skills come together with each playing a small part to put on a successful show.

Many businesses have different departments and teams who all work together for the good of the business, which is usually making money for the shareholders. And in the same way to theatre or football, teamwork will be fundamentally important within your working life.