Teamwork—the combined action of a group—is a critical component to the success of any team. Every company wants to have employees who are excited to work with each other and realize that they can solve bigger problems when together. 

If it sounds quite important, that’s because it is. Teams working together drive growth, encourage employee engagement, and often provide the space for major breakthroughs and innovation. Leaders need to realize that they can foster an environment of teamwork by promoting a culture of synergy within their organization. But what is team synergy, what does it look like in practice, and how can leadership effectively replicate it across their business?

What is team synergy?

Synergy is defined as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” A team that has synergy will likely produce better results than individual contributors. Team synergy is first about connecting the right individuals within a team—and then, it’s about providing the environment, tools, and leadership to keep the momentum going.

Where team synergy begins

Pulling a bunch of people together and expecting synergy won’t provide results. A team won’t operate successfully if there isn’t thought behind the composition of the group, understanding of the mission they’re working on, and clarity in terms of responsibilities.

  • Bring in the right people. Careful thought should be put into who makes up a team. Just like in sports, coaches think about the complementary talents of their players and strategize to ensure the right coalition of people is put together. Typically, teams within an organization benefit from having a mix of individuals—those who focus on the end results and help with production, administrators that understand compliance and guidelines, creatives who think big, and builders who are strong at implementing the work.
  • Let managers coach. Once a team has formed, it’s a manager’s job to empower and guide the team. A manager or team lead has the important responsibility of maintaining the environment for synergy to thrive. With the right tools and tech, the concept of coaching team synergy becomes easier—a manager is able to step back and let their team play.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities. Each person that comprises a team needs to understand their own function as well the functions of the other members. Time, energy, and conflict are saved by simply clarifying each person’s roles and responsibilities up front.

How to foster team synergy across an organization

Setting up a singular team in your organization is one thing, but how do you replicate across the board? In order for any and all teams to achieve a synergistic relationship, they need the following:

  • Goal setting. In order for a team to collaborate, everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to goals and objectives. Each team member will have their specific functions, so without a unified goal individuals will create their own objects, which may introduce conflict or cause the team to veer off course. Clearly defined goals allow each person to prioritize their own work in relation to a shared outcome. Objectives and goals also help to motivate—they provide a shared vision and supply a deeper meaning to the work being done on the team.
  • Transparent communication. Once goals and objects are set, they should be shared widely across the organization. This not only sets up a level of commitment and accountability for the team, but it provides context for everyone else to understand more granular priorities and achievements.
  • Working on a cadence. Once a team is formed and goals are set, they need to continually communicate their findings, issues, and progress with each other. A team that works together on a cadence is agile—they’re empowered and supported to pivot, change, or update their goals and objectives as problems arise or new information demands a change.  

Team synergy begins and ends with providing a thoughtful environment for individuals to connect and thrive. Synergy relies on shared values, communication, and clarity of purpose. Establishing goals and objectives is key—and having a place for those to live, be revisited, or rewritten produces productive and inspired team members.