How To Improve Teamwork In One Easy Lesson

happy team members are important

Organizations have to take care on their teams because they can be crucial for the company´s success. Recently one of our distributed teams faced some ugly problems regarding collaboration and communication. I noticed that some team members were quite unhappy. I came up with the idea to bring all of them together to one physical location. I started to prepare a workshop and invited 20 persons. I want to share with you this applicable step by step guide that shows how we improved the teamwork in one easy lesson.

I wanted to have this article very actionable so that you can adapt this guide for your personal needs. Maybe this post will trigger some ideas. Feel free to copy the charts and apply it within your context. It would be great if you could share your experience as well. Just drop a message and leave a comment below this article.

Persons needed:
Facilitator, team members. Get sure that there is no line manager within the workshop. People won’t come up with the truth: Where there is fear you will get the wrong data!

Time needed:
preparation: 60 minutes
workshop: 2 hours (including coffee break)


After you ensured a safe environment you set the stage with this simple chart. This is also the moment where you introduce the workshop with some words that explain WHY you are hosting this workshop. Explain your role as a facilitator very explicit and tell them that you will be the neutral person.


Translation of the Chart: Welcome to the workshop: Teamwork


This chart seems to be very usual but actually it is very significant. This is the right moment to tell the group the time you want to invest: 2 hours. Mention every step on that chart very clear so people get familiar with the procedure in the next 120 minutes. Make this chart visible throughout the entire time as people love to recheck.


Translation of the Chart:
What is teamwork?
Why is teamwork important?
How can I help to improve teamwork?


This set of rules depends strongly on your team and circumstances. So this chart worked for me but think about your team´s condition and come up with your own rules. The only rule that always applies is: No mobile phones and all notebooks closed during the workshop!


Translation of the Chart:
Game Rules
1. We don’t interrupt
2. We respect the opinion of the others
3. We do not blame
4. Mention critics only on a constructive way

What is Teamwork?

Before you continue with this step, ask everybody to stand up and change seats (If it’s a small team it might not make a lot of sense but if you have more than 10 people in your workshop it’s a good method to bring movement into the game)

This procedure will help everybody to get on the same page. As a coach you will get an overview if everybody identifies teamwork with the same values. Form couples and give each of them 5-10 minutes to think about the issue. Let them write it down on a post-it. Afterwards every couple will have a few minutes to come to the front and explain their statement. Ask the participants to help you to cluster the topics right away so you will generate a good overview.


Translation of the Chart: What is teamwork?

Why is Teamwork important?

Ask the group to form small teams of 4-5 persons and tell them to discuss about this fundamental question. Give them around 10-15 minutes to discuss the topic and to put every argument on a post-it. Afterwards every team sends one person to the front. He/She explains the points that the group elicited. Cluster the items!


Translation of the Chart: Why is Teamwork important?

How can I help to improve teamwork?

This time everybody works alone for about 15 minutes. Every individual should think deeply what he or she can do in order to support team work in the organization. This last part is actually the moment where the participants come up with clear actions points. Give each person the time to explain his post-it on the chart and inquire why this point is so important for the person. This can take a while.

Afterwards give them the last instruction to write down the single most important item in order to improve teamwork. They will keep this single item for themselves. Tell them to put this post-it on their workplace so they can start to improve directly on the next day.


Translation of the Chart: What can I do to support teamwork within the organization?


As a Coach you need feedback constantly. There are many ways on how to get that information. Here is an example how I asked for feedback. I told the participants to be honest and to write down what they liked or disliked. All the items in the lower part are action items for me in order to improve my next workshop.


That’s it. I hope this step-by-step guide helps you in your next workshop.

Feel free to adapt or modify all of these charts. If you have further questions just drop a message or write your request in the comments below.

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