What Are Teamwork Soft Skills?

Teamwork soft skills are leadership actions that show you care about your team’s growth and well-being, which catalyze the transformation of a group of loosely knit individuals into an unstoppable team.

The highest performing teams are built on a foundation of care—the same bedrock emotions that keep families healthy and happy. One of your primary jobs as a care-based team builder is to learn how to connect using all three forms of human connection—physical, mental and emotional.

What is the CARE Loop?

I’ve identified four actions—connect, achieve, respect, and empower—that, taken together, lie at the heart of every great team. I call it the CARE loop. When these four acts of caring are activated, anything is possible.

Caring is the cornerstone for building trust and persistence in any group. When people feel cared for and when they care about the tasks and goals at hand, they are willing to step beyond their perceived limits and dare to do something greater than they originally thought possible.

Why Are Teamwork Soft Skills Important in Leadership?

Teamwork soft skills are important for building the bonds of human relationships and engaging people at the deepest levels, both mentally and emotionally. As President Abraham Lincoln said, “In order to win a [person] to your cause, you must first reach [his/her] heart, the great high road to his reason.” That’s exactly what care-based team building is about: winning people over by connecting with their hearts.

A Gallup survey on U.S. Employee Engagement found that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. workforce isn’t engaged at work. According to Gallup’s findings, only four out of ten people feel cared for at work. They may be “present” at the job, but they are not engaged, and they are anything but unstoppable. That lack undoubtedly affects workers’ attitude and performance, not to mention their physical health.

On the flip side, almost 60 percent of employees who are led by engaged leaders report being engaged and motivated at work. This report shows the need for more emphasis on the “soft” aspects of leadership that I address in the CARE loop framework.

What Does It Mean to Connect with Teammates?

Connecting with teammates requires using all three components of your action platform—your mental, emotional and physical capabilities—to prove to others you are trustworthy. It means you must bring curiosity, authenticity and candor; a willingness to listen; and above all else a consistency to your intent to build connections.

You need to connect and collaborate with your team members—to understand their worries, fears, and perceived limitations and then collaborate with them to overcome challenges. Each challenge that is overcome deepens your connections to each other and increases your confidence to take on goals that are even more difficult.

What is Designated Authority vs Earned Authority?

Just because you’re the designated leader—a role based on title, rank, position, or authority—it doesn’t mean that you’ll find it easy to earn your team’s trust. As a leader, you don’t have an automatic, innate connection with your teammates.

Former United States President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in defining the ability to direct or influence the behavior of others and motivate them to take specific actions through earned authority, said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

How Do You Build Trust and Earn Authority?

The way you build connections and earn the trust of teammates is through what I call the three Cs:

  1. COMMUNICATION—physical, mental, emotional
  2. CREDIBILITY—integrity, accountability, humility
  3. COMMITMENT—reliability, consistency, focus

Don’t think of these as a sequence of events but rather a matrix of interwoven actions that gradually forge trusting relationships. They all interact with one another. Your body language must match your words, and your words must be consistent with your intent.

All these factors come together, sometimes subtly and sometimes overtly, to convey your authenticity and trustworthiness. The three Cs are a package deal; they build upon and reinforce each other, and you can’t have one without practicing all of them.

Where Do I Learn More About Teamwork Soft Skills?

Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership Hardcover

Unstoppable Teams is the handbook for how to build care-based teams that will push people to achieve more than they ever thought possible. You can order your copy today!


Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High-Performance Leadership Hardcover – March 26, 2019


Read “Why I Wrote Unstoppable Teams.”