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Why Teambuilding is an Important Soft Skill

Why Teambuilding is an Important Soft Skill

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan 

tug of war

John Adair defined “team” as “a group in which the individuals share a common aim and in which the jobs and skills of each member fit in and those of others”.  Working in a successful team can be rewarding. It can be even more rewarding to use your own skills to create, develop and lead a successful team. Teambuilding then is a critical component of Soft Skills.

People have always worked in teams, going back to our earliest hunter-gatherer days when working as a team meant our very survival. It has since moved on to working in collaboration for defense, the success of family, and social interaction. When a task has been too big or complex for just one individual we have banded together, in everything from taking down a big animal to performing a symphony.

Even if you work independently most of the time, there will be times when you need to interact with others, either at work or at play. Working in teams is a major part of the modern workplace experience. More than ever before, collaboration has become the crucial element leading to success in today’s high tech and fast paced environment. Finding ways to build teams that accomplish their required tasks in the most efficient and accurate manner is often challenging, especially when bringing together individuals with diverse sets of hard and soft skills. There are some basic techniques you can use when building, or working, with a team to help create a cohesive unit that leverages everyone’s talents and ensures that each person contributes.

Identifying Capabilities

“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life thinking it is stupid” ~ A. Einstein.

When building a team, it is key to identify the different talents, skills, and capabilities each team member brings. Take the time at the outset to ask each member what he or she brings to the team.

  • What skills, abilities and relationships does each team member have that can enhance the project?
  • What does each person feel he or she does well?
  • How can the team use all these talents and capabilities to achieve the best outcome?

Figuring out what which team member does well is critical to the team’s success. Putting the wrong person in the wrong spot can lead to disaster, not only for that person but also for the team. Making sure everyone is using the best suited talents and skill sets, or that, as Jim Collins stated, everyone is in the right seat on the bus, creates a symbiotic relationship that leads to maximum results.

Barriers to effective team dynamics include:

  • Dissonant personality styles
  • Conflicting priorities and work schedules
  • Fast-paced work routines leaving little time for relationship-building
  • Lack of connectedness and understanding among team members
  • Lack of trust in leaders

We need the ability to look beyond ourselves to understand others’ personalities and viewpoints. The soft skill required is to understand how our communication and behaviour styles, and stress-response patterns, differ from others’ in the workplace. The SOCIAL STYLEs model™ of Social Intelligence provides a perspective on first how to recognize our own patterns and then how to recognize others. Once we have done this we can then start to learn how we can “move towards” others and communicate with them better. SOCIAL STYLEs calls this Versatility and it uses the Platinum Rule: treat other how they want to be treated. Once we have developed and implemented this soft skill we can then start to see team dynamics and performances soar.

“There is no strength until there is cooperation” – Irish Proverb


This is the seventh in a series of posts exploring Soft Skills and why they are so important to your success in any endeavour.


John Whitehead, MA, CEC, coaches individuals and organizations in becoming more effective by helping them improve their interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence and resiliency.

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