When it comes to running an effective workplace, most leaders know that teamwork is the key. However, bringing a team together and cultivating an environment that encourages them to work together can be a challenge.
Too often, particularly on the job, things can turn competitive. Jealousy and anger can start to erode the team, putting projects in jeopardy and causing chaos in the workplace. Rather than working together, individuals start to sabotage each other and it seems like everyone takes sides.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. A good leader should be able to spot issues before they become problems. They should also be able to implement a strategy to unite members of the team rather than cause division. In fact, creating a teamwork atmosphere is more about time and conditions than anything else. Like anything that you want to grow, you have to let it happen over time, providing you have created an ideal environment for growth to happen.
Owner of My Place Realty, entrepreneur Kris Thorkelson said cultivating a good team mentality requires a plan.
“It requires a clear company objective and a willingness and ability to adapt quickly to changes.”
Many younger employees have actually been found to favour team environments where staff work together to get a project done rather than independent work. In fact, research has found that 88 percent of millennials prefer collaboration.
In addition, through encouraging collaboration, companies can improve innovation by 15 percent, according to the statistics.
Tips to encourage teams to work together
Here are some of the top ways that experts recommend business leaders help promote a teamwork mentality in their workplace.
Lead by example:
Good leaders demonstrate through their actions and behaviors how they expect other employees to behave. It is no different when it comes to teamwork. “Never forget the importance of delegating responsibilities among team members,” Thorkelson “ This is vital to the success of any project.”
Creating a climate of communication is a big key when it comes to developing a team atmosphere. The best teams know how to brainstorm and share ideas, they also know how to critique other’s ideas without creating hostility. Ironically enough, a major part of communicating is to listen. Let the team members know that they are welcome to share ideas but they also need to listen to others.
Along with the ability to communicate well, team members need to be honest with each other. “Effective teams quickly learn to open up and share honest opinions to resolve disagreements,” CEO of Sandler Training, Dave Mattison has said. “A successful team knows always to tell the truth, no matter how difficult.”
Use team building activities:
These don’t need to be very long or time-consuming, just short activities to get everyone used to working together to solve a problem. You should vary the activities depending on what strengths your team needs to develop. For example, when you first bring the team together, a getting-to-know-you activity would help develop the right mentality. However, you may need to work on problem solving or communication issues further down the line. For that, you would use a different type of activity to bring everyone onto the same page. It is also important that you do these types of exercises regularly to keep everyone “in shape” rather than intermittently when there is an issue to overcome.
Have ground rules
Some good procedures for interacting and working together are often a good idea if you want to develop respect among team members. It can also help define how the project will move forward.
Design your office space to be teamwork friendly
Consider establishing some areas where team members can gather and work side by side.
As a leader, it is your role to praise employees who do a good job. Also, show some gratitude for the hard work that everyone puts in. This can be as simple as a word of encouragement or a box of donuts and coffee for the team.
Informal settings can help enhance a team’s cohesiveness. Set aside some time to meet outside of the office to improve the lines of communication among members of the team.