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Teamwork in the Workplace: Enthusiastic, Consistent, and United Effort



When people think about what makes a great team great, they often gloss over “effort.” After all, it seems a bit obvious to say that a team can only succeed by putting in hard work.

But for teamwork in the workplace to be truly effective, the definition of team effort must extend beyond “working hard.” Effective effort involves three key components: enthusiasm, consistency, and a united commitment. In fact, consistent, united, and enthusiastic effort is so important to team success that we’ve named it one of our “seven cornerstones of teamwork,” which make up the foundation for exceptional teamwork in the workplace. Read on to see which component of effort your team might be missing:


Armed with shiny, new resources (or budgets) and a well-defined goal, teams often start off incredibly excited to tackle the task at hand. That excitement, however, comes in waves—morale is high at the launch of the project and gets another boost at the completion of big phases, but it dissipates between these peaks when the hard work must be put in. Unfortunately, that’s when teams need an injection of enthusiasm the most!

Teamwork in the workplace suffers and slows when members are not enthusiastic and fully engaged; a study by Gallup revealed that engaged workplaces outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share. If you look around and see that your team members are putting in the work, but your project still seems to be moving at a glacial pace, a lack of enthusiastic effort may be to blame.


It’s an all-too-common scenario: A team member shuffles into a meeting 15 minutes after it starts, offering a half-baked excuse. It’s one thing if this were a one-time experience, but it happens again for the next meeting…and again after that. This team member needs a major reminder that the effort he or she contributes must be consistent (and that doesn’t mean being “consistently” late!). That means being there for every meeting on time, answering team emails in a timely manner, and not making excuses when the going gets tough.


While team members must be consistent in a practical sense, they must be emotionally consistent in their effort, as well. For example, a lack of consistent emotional effort may manifest itself in a team member’s tendency to pull out his or her phone during Friday-morning meetings—she’s physically at the meeting, but, mentally, she’s totally “checked out.” It’s not enough to just show up consistently; for teamwork in the workplace to succeed, each team member must consistently give the project his or her all.


Today, many smart companies are changing up teamwork in the workplace by instituting subgroups, which are smaller “teams within teams” strategically formed in order to focus on a specific subset of the overall team’s goal. Sometimes, unfortunately, forming subgroups can have an adverse effect on team effort. Subgroup members may become jealous that they’re not on a more “glamorous” or client-facing subgroup, or they may slack off on subgroup tasks, because they don’t see how their subgroup is important.


That’s where the importance of a united effort comes in. Subgroup members must remember that every subgroup performs an indispensable function to teamwork in the workplace—therefore, each and every subgroup needs to be united in its effort to reach the overall team goal. On an individual level, a united effort is so important to team success because team members naturally rely on one another, like for a report that can’t be written until the data are collected by a certain team member. When one team member slacks off, that will inevitably affect another team member’s ability to contribute to his or her team fully.

Set the Expectation Early

Putting in consistent, united, enthusiastic effort should be a given for every employee—but, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. That’s why team leaders must be up front about the level of personal commitment and discipline that will be expected of each member. If a prospective team member is not willing or is unable to commit to this kind of effort, then allow him or her to bow out of the team. It may be hard to find a replacement, but it would be even harder to get through a project with team members who must be cajoled at every turn into putting in effort. Although, at a company with a high-performance culture, once the expectation for consistent, united, and enthusiastic effort is set, the chances of high-performing members “bailing” on the team are minimal.

If a lack of effort may be the culprit in your own company’s teams, which specific component do you think your teams are struggling with the most?

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