When your target is to achieve success in business, there’s nothing more crucial than great teamwork.
However, most businesses and leaders fail to recognise the basic difference between building a team and creating teamwork. While neither task is easy compared to the other, it is often teamwork that proves to be a bigger challenge to attain. Once achieved, it makes the journey towards the organisational goals smoother and more rewarding for each team member.
However, in spite of the benefits, teamwork is easier said than done. Luckily, it has nothing to do with the kind of work, but everything to do with individual psychology and group dynamics.
So as a leader or a team member, how can you foster collaboration and encourage teamwork at your workplace?
Let’s take a look.
Mission, focus & rules are all good things. Boring, but good.
Forming — Storming — Norming — Performing
While Bruce Tuckman’s group development model is your best friend in building a team that works cohesively, putting in a little extra effort never goes to waste. A team with clearly defined mission, objective and ground-rules that they consciously establish should always be the first task on the list. These rules must be explicit, consistent, consented, and obeyed by everyone on the team.
In the absence of ground rules, natural individual behaviour patterns take over impulsively and can become a cause of concern for the team.
As the team passes through each phase of group development, these ground rules help in identifying specific problems that may be hampering the productivity of the team and individual members.
We’ve written a whole new post on this! Check it out here >>>>>
Training: If Rocky Balboa needed it, you need it too!
As an individual Vs. as a group
To achieve success, each member of the team must know their own roles and responsibilities as well as that of other members. This division of roles must be based on aptitude and skills. However, it is possible that a particular member may have the aptitude but does not possess the skills needed for the task. That’s where training can help.
Some companies prefer individual training for employees, while other prefer to train them in groups. There are benefits and pitfalls associated with both methods, but in the end it depends entirely on the objective of the training. An individual may have queries and concerns after training that they will raise with their supervisor, taking away from the supervisor’s productive time. On the other hand, during group trainings, teams acquire the same information. They have each other to turn to in case of post-training queries. This information sharing can also help them in understanding each other’s position within the team and build cohesiveness among the members.
Consensus is Golden.
Few things are more irritating than having to sit through a poorly managed meeting.
But meetings are probably as important as lunch breaks for all of us. When done right, they are one of the most effective ways to engage employees and manage teams.
One way to do that is to ensure that the team observes ground rules to analyse and resolve conflicts, and that the team constantly evaluates itself for improvement. Members should have a sense of belonging to the team.
Team members should have a habit of making decisions together with mutual consensus and should also support such decisions.
We’ve written a whole new post on this! Check it out here >>>>>
Build a culture of oneness
A solo act cannot win against a team in a direct competition, and that is a fact.
Individual contributions lead the team towards a win. But to build a culture of oneness within the team where the individual and the team are an indistinct entity requires an organisational atmosphere where leaders lead by example at every front. It requires the leaders to be more than just their titles and be seen as real people. It happens when inspiration to excel comes from action, when they learn from observation, not just words.
When a culture like that is rooted deep within the teams, and the individuals can relate themselves with the team, teamwork will come naturally to every member.
Because of influx of queries about this point, we wrote a whole new post on this. Read it here>>>>>
Knocking is so last decade! Open-door policy wins hearts.
The most important part of leading by example is to set the right examples for everyone to follow. It is always good for the team when leaders ensure that their decisions are fair & offer an opportunity to everyone in the team. It is vital for employees to know that they have an impartial and trustworthy grievance redressal system.
An open door policy with upward feedback mechanisms allows them to voice their concerns or constructive criticisms directly to the management. Achieving complete transparency in the workplace can be a challenge for any organisation.
Frequent and open communication can reduce these concerns, allowing better focus on productivity.
Build a value system
Building a value system can either be an abstract task or a clear one, nothing in between. What you believe in, what your organisation believes in, and are those beliefs in harmony with each other is the key!
An organisation must be honest with itself, understand and integrate its value system to ensure constant learning, even from the mistakes.
Values are the glue that make everyone in the organisation stick together and work towards a common goal. So subscribing to those values is not optional for anyone within the organisation.
Technology + Human touch => A mixture that works.
Effective communication is the cornerstone of teamwork, and technology is the enabler for that. It has provided us with the tools to eliminate travel time, manage scheduling conflicts and stamp out miscommunications from the workplace.
We don’t use technology in the workplace just to look cool or because it is the new thing. We use it because it solves real problems for us. It enables us to collaborate with colleagues in different parts of the world in real-time, reducing the time and expense incidental to teamwork.
Btw, this point is central to our vision at Gridle:
Simplify your work-life from complicated stuff to mundane things through better design and smarter technology.
Encourage taking risks!
The team must create and facilitate an environment where members are at ease with taking logical and appropriate risks. It could be with any of their assigned tasks, as long as it is reasonable. Discuss scenarios with them and the acceptable risks that they can take. Make sure that they are not punished for failures on small risks that do not affect your business.
Risk management and autonomy helps in building trust within a team and eases leadership.
Small little rewards and recognitions go a looooong way.
Include teamwork as an assessment parameter in the annual review and link rewards and appraisals with the employee’s contributions to the team.
Let them know that they will be assessed for teamwork during annual appraisals. Acknowledging teamwork and rewarding it becomes a motivating factor the rest of the employees to engage and participate voluntarily.
Monotonous meetings kill!
Do something away from the ordinary like a stare-off at the end of a meeting like e-commerce company Etailz where last 10 minutes of company meetings are reserved for Q&A. If there are no questions, it becomes the stare-off time in the meeting room.
Get them a new Hobby at Work
Employees who manage an excellent work-life balance and pursue activities outside of work find these activities helping them with their performance on the job.
After all, efficiency is not in the number of people, but in the effectiveness of each employee. To create an environment conducive to this, help your team members engage in their creative pursuits. If they have pets, have a “bring your pets to work day” in the office. If they like photography, ask them to click a few photographs around the office or during team off-site activities for social media channels.
These are few of the things to help foster collaborative, cohesive teamwork that brings success for the team and for the organisation. However, it takes much more than just a few activities to build a team and foster teamwork. Mentoring and sharing experiences from work and personal life between team members is an effective way to strengthen team spirit.
Let’s remember Michael Jordan’s words —
Teamwork is not achieved in a day or even a week, it needs continuous attention from the entire team. Henry Ford’s advice on the matter still rings true to this day —
“Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress; working together is success.”
If you liked what we’ve written, there is a slightly higher chance you’ll also like what we’ve built! Check us out.. Or,
Until next time.