Top Tips for Team Building
Long gone are the days when an employee could work in a silo.With the rare exception, even the most individualistic job descriptions are written in the context of team membership, with the expectation that the candidate “plays well with others”.
Despite this thorough adoption of the idea of teamwork, many organizations are frustrated when it comes to implementing exercises and practices that deliver consistent results in line with the business objectives. Much of that gap is due to a disconnect between the willingness to be a part of a team and the existence of a solid team to join. Careful planning with team building can bridge this gap and create a unified team that works toward a common goal.
Many endeavors toward teamwork fail because the team was not provided with a clear understanding of its purpose or expectations. The team needs to be aware of how their work contributes to the objectives of the organization, and how their project fits within the company’s overall strategy. This is especially important for companies that don’t have a history of rewarding creative thinking or valuing a culture of teamwork.
If your organization is trying to make a shift in the way it executes its mission, it’s essential that there is clear communication of how this team works with other teams in the company, and that there is support from leadership. Remember that getting everyone to move from department-centered thinking to mission-centered thinking is a process, not an overnight project.
Do the people on the team know why they’ve been chosen? Do they recognize the value and purpose of the other members? This is the first step to ensuring participation once you get past the “bigger picture” perspective and begin to work on details. Any benefits – recognition, reward, further education, skill enhancement, even unique challenges – should be outlined in order to motivate and energize the team members. Don’t make them guess how well – or if – their efforts will be supported; give them not only expectations for their performance, but expectations they can have for resources.
And don’t overlook communication. How will they tackle conflict resolution? To whom do they report? What methods will they use for group process and development? Getting a team to truly collaborate means setting up structures that eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel on basic protocols and allow them to focus on the task at hand.
The difference between being there and truly showing up is whether or not a team takes ownership of their work. Provide them with perspective and objectives, but also empower them to define as many aspects of their jobs as possible, from stating their own mission and vision to setting their outcomes, timelines, and measurements for performance.
With all this freedom comes responsibility. Team members should know roles and boundaries, to whom they are accountable, and the possible consequences for both individuals and the team. All of this helps determine priorities and highlights the impact their work has on the team and the organization.
Don’t ever assume that past failed attempts at teamwork mean employees don’t want to be “team players”. Most people strongly desire to know how and why they belong. A well-defined culture of teamwork and collaboration helps them feel valued and gives them a secure structure in which to operate. Create that environment for your employees, and you’ll see results! For more on teamwork, visit PsychPros today!