By Maeve Hunt, Associate Director, Audit and Assurance at Grant Thornton

After a period of much uncertainty, government is back up and running in Stormont and we have seen the need for parties with very different views and strategies to ‘work together’ and collaborate in order to achieve results.

In every walk of life, the need for good teamwork and collaborative skills is required in order to achieve high performance. It is true in sport and in business. The time spent by management and employees in collaborative activities has increased over the years. I have seen this in audit teams, with both internal audit and external audits, and it is certainly true in consulting.

It is well known that people and therefore businesses thrive and grow when they are free to communicate and work together, but this does bring its challenges.

Effective teamwork is difficult to get right. In most organisations it is difficult to pinpoint a team that is a shining example of excellent teamwork.

A lack of goal setting, role uncertainty, personality conflicts and having suboptimal working conditions can all lead to ineffective teams.

Maeve Hunt

How to ensure some of these challenges are faced seems obvious but should be constantly reviewed by management.

Increased flexibility with remote working is a fantastic benefit for employees, but research shows it can lead to a lack of communication within teams. In my experience, regular video calls instead of audio phone calls work well in remote working environments and richly benefit overall team communication.

Team leaders should ensure that strategies and end goals are constantly reviewed and communicated. Making goal setting a two-way process will achieve buy-in from all members.

The larger the team, the more potential there is for confusion of roles and responsibilities.

Time spent defining and communicating roles, especially at the start of a project can help mitigate this issue.

Collaboration of different personalities and skill sets can help foster a sense of teamwork in an organisation, but it can also lead to conflict if not properly managed.

Promoting and celebrating diverse team members with differing views and strengths by sharing ideas and tasks could lead to a more insightful, creative and effective team.

Self-awareness is important for all team members, and the leader’s role is to ensure that team members respect each other and are prepared to collaborate to succeed.

Work environments are complex, but by focusing on the connections between team members, building trust, communicating purpose, and encouraging collaboration, the team can achieve high performance. After all, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’.

For further information or advice, Maeve Hunt can be contacted at

Grant Thornton (NI) LLP specialises in audit, tax and advisory services.