Teamwork Resources

For all stages of development

Teamwork Resources

For all stages of development

Are you a student of teams and teamwork?

Whether you’re studying the theory of teamwork as part of a degree or other course, or just trying to develop your own knowledge or expertise, this page will help. Here you’ll find resources and sources to help develop your understanding of why teamwork is important in the workplace. And help you put it into action!

The sources are mainly on-line so that you can easily access them by clicking the links. We’ve also put together some links to the extensive collection of other resources available on The Happy Manager. Here you’ll find:

  • A wide range of reference sources to help you develop your understanding of why teamwork is important at work.
  • Sources structured around themes, complete with notes to highlight what might be particularly helpful in the source.
  • Some of the free downloads we’ve produced to help your understanding of teams and teamwork.
  • Links to a wider range of team resources and guides which can be purchased, including generously discounted rates for purchasing a complete sets.
  • Hints on how to reference web pages, such as the resources you’ll find here on The Happy Manager.
Teamwork resources  – creating a team

Starting well

Probably the most famous teamwork theory is Bruce Tuckman’s “team stages model” developed in 1965. This article explains Tuckman’s model and offer some fresh insights on how to take it further.

Famous Team Stages Model

This link takes you to a re-print of Tuckman’s original article

Tuckman’s Original Article

Problems with teams

This interview with teams’ expert Professor J. Richard Hackman poses some thought full reasons for why teams don’t work.

Why Teams Don’t Work

This Harvard blog asks you to think about whether your team is really a group or it is a team?

A Group or a Team?

Synergy and why teams are important

Professor J. Richard Hackman makes an insightful argument.”My observation of teams in organisations suggest that teams tend to clump at both ends of the effectiveness continuum. They’re either bad or very good. So for Hackman the question becomes not so much “whether organizational performance improves when teams are used to accomplish work.” but rather “what differentiates those teams that go into orbit and achieve real synergy from those that crash and bum.” Read on to find out more about synergy in teams…..

What differentiates a team with real synergy?

Taking over an existing team

What do you need to consider when taking over an existing team?

Taking over an existing team

This Harvard blog argues the first step in starting a team is to be clear about the team’s purpose.

Establishing purpose

Teamwork resources – developing a team

Building teams

Why is Teamwork Important? Here some key features of what makes teamwork so valuable are discussed

Teamwork Matters

Teamwork doesn’t just happen. This article explores the conditions under which team can flourish

Creating the conditions for teamwork

Facilitation skills are crucial to helping to build a team. This is the first in a short series of articles to help team leaders improve how they get the best out of their team

Facilitation skills

Exhausting teams

When teams are exhausting it’s often individuals pulling in their own direction.

Poor Teamwork

This article by Professor Bob Sutton is based on research about the negative impact one person can have on a team

Bad apples

Teamwork resources – performing teams

How does a team perform?

This Harvard article is a classic on teams outlining 5 essentials for a high performing team.

Discipline of Teams

This article sets out the features to watch out for when teams get too comfortable and lose their focus on performance. A subtle problem that is often difficult to spot

Too Much Team not Enough Work

Teamwork resources – sustaining team performance


An interesting book chapter discussing the value of team synergies at various stages of team development.Team power and synergy. 

Some tips on how to benefit from teamwork synergies.

Synergy and effective teamwork

Do teams work in all situations? Some limitations of teams are discussed in relation to the “Ringleman effect” (an interesting point about diminishing returns when teams get too big) Mark De Rond is an interesting academic who researches in this area. He is a Cambridge University professor. Find out more about his book on teams, and a study he carried out with the famous Cambridge rowing team.

Why less is more in teams

Great video where Mark De Rond explains teams in the famous boat race.

What does it take to make a successful rowing team?

Find out more about De Rond’s book “There is an I in team”

“There is an I in team”

Here’s a short video which explains the Ringelman effect and social loafing. Note the reference to later research

Social loafing

Lack of alignment

This “google books” section gives you a great introduction with a short history of team (p3 – 7). Benefits of teams are highlighted (p7 – 8). Then there is an interesting proposal for why some teams are dysfunctional (p10). Worth reading and thinking about.

The new why teams don’t work

This Harvard blog looks at how you recognise when a team is drifting off its performance and suggest 4 steps to take.

When Teams Drift

Creating synergy

Synergy is by no means a given. It doesn’t just happen and it is often difficult to achieve. Follow the argument about what it is that makes an effective team. Hackman argues that “teams that function well can indeed achieve a level of synergy and agility that never could be reprogrammed by organization planners or enforced by external managers.” (p248). Read on to find out how…

What differentiates a team with real synergy?

Promoting flatter and leaner structures

Flatter and leaner structures, with less hierarchy. This article is about leadership being shared more widely, but it is also about teams being effective. It sets out several reasons for why shared leadership is becoming more important that echo the growing importance of teams. Flatter structures and less hierarchy are prominent. The examples of businesses such as Southwest Airlines and W.L. Gore can be really useful in providing evidence to support your argument.

What differentiates a team with real synergy?

Encouraging multi-disciplinary teams

This report for the UK’s Health service brings together ideas about shared leadership and multi-disciplinary teams. Note how the emphasis on teams across different disciplines is emphasised. This report also has some good reference links at the end.

Multidisciplinary teams and shared leadership

Fostering flexibility

Fosters flexibility and responsiveness, especially the ability to respond to change. This journal article provides an insightful discussion of W.L. Gore (world famous manufacturers of Goretex). Note how flexibility, responsiveness teams and self-leadership all come together to help Gore perform as a business.

Flexibility, teams and leadership at W.L. Gore

Pleasing customers

Pleases customers who like working with good teams (sometimes the customer may be part of the team). Thinking of the customer as part of the team is a challenging perspective.

Putting customers centre-stage

Promoting a sense of achievement

The sense of achievement, equity and camaraderie. Not how the explanation of each of these three aspects in this article relate to teams. The final aspect, camaraderie is specifically related to teams in this article.

Achievement equity and camaraderie

Promoting a better way to work

When managed properly, teamwork is a better way to work! See this article to explore how teams and teamwork are defined and the benefits that can result

Benefits of teamwork defined

More teamwork resources

Teams e-guidesIf you want to put our teamwork concepts into action, you’ll find more information and a wealth of practical resources, in our colossal Team Building Bundle.

Containing 240 pages and 50 tools, these are the 8 key guides we recommend to help you do more than define teamwork, build it!

Why is Teamwork Important
Build a Better Team
The Problems with Teams
Team Health Check
Team Building Exercises
Leading with Style and Focus
What’s the Problem?
Making Better Decisions

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I’m teaching team leaders and team members 7 Step Problem Solving and found your site very enlightening and useful for my classes!!!

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