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Employability Skills: Teamwork

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Published: 22 October 2020

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Although you come to the University of Sunderland in London to study a specific topic, top employers are also interested in other additional skills you might have. 

So-called ‘soft skills’, or knowledge and abilities that improve how you’ll be as an employee can set you apart from the competition.  

One of the most important of these is teamwork. 

In almost any role you find yourself in after graduation, the chances are good you’ll be working with other people. 

The ability to not only get along but thrive and excel in team settings is one of the most asked for things on any job description. 

So how do you improve your teamworking skills?  

Leadership 

Good teamwork starts at the top. A manager sets the tone for the rest of the workplace, meaning if you’re in charge start by leading through example. If you find yourself in a managerial role, make sure you think about your department as a team – understand what people are good at, how they could improve and how it all compliments each other. 

Communicate 

Talking is key. Whatever else you’re doing in your role, unless you tell people about it (and in a way they can understand) your contribution will go unappreciated. Proper communication can be mutually beneficial – that is, the work someone else is doing could help you with yours. But unless you talk about it, you’ll never know. 

Team building exercises 

These can have a bit of a bad reputation. But company retreats and awkward trust games aren’t the only kinds of team-building exercises. Try short, simple tasks unrelated to your work that help you get to know each other. One option is to start a meeting talking about what you did over the weekend. Simple things like saying what you watched last night helps show your colleagues there’s more to you than simply work. 

Team rules 

A good team is one that has a shared way of working and being around each other. Having established rules sets your team apart and organises you in a way that helps to build a common sense of purpose. For example, have a strict no phones rule in meetings or a set way to talk about what’s frustrating you as an individual and a group. Just knowing these rules creates a shared culture that makes up your team. 

 It can be intimidating starting a new role, especially when it’s your first. But be on the lookout for what makes the department you’re joining a team. Once you know how people interact, you’ll find it easier to establish yourself, join in and thrive. 

For more information, look at our Career and Employability page or visit the Careers website. You can read more about skills like teamwork our news pages.

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