The Most Important Workplace & Teamwork Skills


Great teamwork skills are essential

Critical thinking skills are highly sought after by recruiters. Execs rank it as the most important workplace skill and the U.S. Department of Labor has labeled it the foundation of problem solving, decision making, creativity, strategic planning, and more. While people generally grasp critical thinking’s underlying theory and recognize it as a high-value skill, they often fall short in applying it to everyday tasks and situations. A survey conducted by SHRM and The Conference Board found that among employees with a four year college education only 28%—a little better than one in four—were rated excellent critical thinkers.

For being so in demand, critical thinking skills aren’t that easy to define. Almost all definitions agree that it’s about understanding the problem at hand, evaluating the evidence, and then making a rational, thoughtful decision. In business, critical thinking helps employees act faster, and think on their feet to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

Team Roles

Teams have certain people placed in particular roles, according to their unique skills:

  • Leader: Identify the task to be done and motivate others to do it
  • Moderator: Identify people to work on the task and involve them in it
  • Creator: Generate original ideas to approach the task and produce several alternatives
  • Innovator: Find resources in the environment and identify opportunities to use them
  • Manager: Develop plans to utilize people and resolve conflicts between them
  • Organizer: Develop plans for using time, money, and physical resources to make ideas work
  • Evaluator: Analyze situations and make judgments about alternatives, plans, and results
  • Finisher: Follow through on plans and attend to detail in completing tasks
Leadership Styles That Fail
Leadership is an important workplace skill. Great leaders are more successful at their own tasks and their teams' perform better work as well. But they have to be careful not to develop negative habits. Below are leadership styles that tend to fail:
  • Navigating the team stops: Even though a leader may be satisfied with the current state of the company, they tend to stop directing people. The leader needs to set expectations and keep track of everyone's work and hold themselves accountable.

  • Greed takes over: When a leader starts doing the work that should be passed to their employees, this ends up hurting themselves. The leader will become overworked and stressed , and this is when the employees are bored with their jobs and are ready to leave.

  • Failing to lead themselves: When a leader lacks integrity or character, they will not endure the test of time. It never matters how amazing a leader may be -- if they are going to endure unethical behavior based on needs, they will fall from their own undoing.

  • Poor communication skills: If a leader gets flustered at individuals for not understanding a task and does not work to make things clear, communication breaks down . All leaders should be active listeners, thinkers , and assist someone when they have questions.

  • Building relationships are ignored: When it comes to leading, it is all about building relationships with your team. Ignoring the importance of building healthy relationships will result in failures.

  • Failure to Serve: The strongest and best leaders will do all they need to make things happen. Refusing to complete a task because of the thought of it being beneath them due to their title, will always result in failure.

  • Bad Attitude: If a leader is always in a foul mood and full of negativity, the leader can expect their team to act the same way. How a leader reacts to different scenarios is critical because attitudes are contagious.
Putting Critical Thinking Into Practice
The best way to encourage better teamwork is to put critical thinking theory into practice. We can help you get started with a reproducible and customizable training program called Critical Thinking Skills. The learning outcomes equip participants to sharpen skills through better understanding of problems, evaluating evidence, and making more solid decisions. It helps learners to apply the critical thinking process in business situations and avoid costly mistakes. 
The Critical Thinking Skills training begins with an introduction into the three-step process of critical thinking, the characteristics it encourages and the common mistakes to avoid. Participants then use their newly-learned or refreshed critical thinking skills in analyzing case studies or real-world scenarios. They'll learn to challenge information, recognize biases, and assess options, among other learning outcomes. The practical, interactive activities deepen a participants' insight and facilitate the ability to translate the learned material into their work back on the job. All of which leads to greater personal potential and better overall job performance—and that's our goal as trainers, right?
Learn more about improving teamwork skills here: