The Importance of Teamwork

By Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at

It’s the beginning of a new month, and that means it’s time for a new Powerful Word!

Throughout August 2011, we’ll be working on the concept of “teamwork.”

All our discussions and activities will aim to help our students understand that successful, collaborative teamwork can shorten the time, divide the effort, and increase the morale of a group who are working towards a common goal.

Powerful Words is the name of our character development curriculum here at Urban Martial Arts. It’s designed by one of the nation’s leading childhood development experts, Dr. Robyn Silverman. Every month, we’ll focus on a different Powerful Word, or concept around character development.

Here’s a video from Dr. Robyn Silverman in which she introduces some of the concepts we’ll be covering this month:

Successful, collaborative teamwork can shorten the time, divide the effort, and increase the morale of a group who are working towards a common goal.

Great teams accentuate strengths, compensate for weaknesses, and bring out the best in every member. Goal-getting just seems easier.

Perhaps that’s why T.E.A.M. is said to stand for “Together Everyone Achieves More” or sometimes even “Together Everyone Achieves Miracles.”

We want all children to learn about the benefits of teamwork and effective teams. Of course, all teams do not guarantee the production of teamwork nor do they always guarantee success.

Therefore while we must teach children the many positive functions of teams, we also must teach them when to speak up and challenge the culture of the team. Simply going along with the group can be just as toxic as the problem itself.

Speaking up can be tough for anyone, especially children who just want to be accepted. Yet, this is a necessary practice for leaders.

In a review paper published 2 months ago in Leadership Quarterly, Susan Murphy and Stephanie Johnson discuss the early roots of leadership.

As we want our children to emerge as leaders rather than passive followers, the connection between character development, teamwork and leadership is important.

The researchers agree that youth sporting activities tend to build initiative, teamwork, and ability to regulate emotions– all vital skills that can serve them well in future leadership roles.

This month we will talk about the benefits and challenges of working as a team.

We’ll pay attention to the teamwork that helps us to thrive in our own lives. What lessons do we learn about working with others when on a team? What lessons do we learn about ourselves?

Please share with your children your experiences with working as a team. How have they benefitted and challenged you?

There’s no better way to drive home the lessons we teach at Urban Martial Arts than by reinforcing them… well, at home!

To give you more ideas for conversation topics, here’s a run-down of what we’ll be discussing over the next 4 weeks:

Week 1 Teamwork defined: What is a team? What is teamwork?
Week 2 What makes a team succeed or fail? Sportsmanship, attitude, character, effort
Week 3 How can I contribute and what can I learn? Leadership, strengths, & lessons
Week 4 When should I stand up vs stand strong together? Disagreements & compromise

We’d love to hear how your conversations go with your child so do share with us!

Photo Credit: Jiheffe on Flickr