Updated: May 11
Do you ever feel like your employees are just incapable of getting along? You may have hired the most talented, experienced, skilled employees on the job market, but for some reason, they’re the least productive when they have to work with others. Have you made the wrong hire? Are you doomed to be the boss of an office full of lone wolves? Not necessarily – the team building process extends past you sending a “congratulations” email to your new employee, and today, you’ll learn some essential tips to make sure that your teams are efficient, productive, and harmonious.
Sometimes, teams can be necessary to achieve the goals of your company -- and even if they’re not, they can be incredibly useful to increasing the overall productivity and workflow of your business, using your employees to their fullest potentials as they bounce off each other and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
It goes without saying, then, that it’s crucial for you to be able to understand what your employees excel at, and what areas they struggle in. This, however, might be easier said than done – you might find out too late that everyone in your office is inept at using Microsoft Excel, so how do you ensure that your teams are built well?
A key part of the process is mastering the “art of people”, knowing how to control egos and push your employees to their comfortable limits to provoke maximum motivation and productivity. It becomes a whole different ball game, however, when you suddenly have to manage multiple people working together – so, without further ado, here are ten ways to build more effective teams within your company.
1. UNDERSTAND WHAT MAKES A TEAM WORK
In a word: clarity. Having clear goals, clear roles, and transparent communication will ensure that everyone on your team is aligned and working towards a common objective. As the leader, it’s up to you to ensure that all members of the team have a clear understanding of what they’re doing and what they have to do to contribute to the team’s vision.
2. ENCOURAGE INDIVIDUALITY
While the whole point of a team is for the whole group to achieve things and work towards a common goal, it’s important to remember that each member of the team is their own special snowflake and that their voice can be very important for the group. It can be great for motivation if members are acknowledged individually, rather than achievements being recognised as the whole group’s effort. Deindividuation, when members of a group lose their individuality, can result in people losing their own voice and the benefits of teamwork being lost.
3. LEADERSHIP IS KEY
You obviously don’t want to have a power divide within your team – you should be designing the teams in the first place to allow for equal responsibility and skill amongst all members. It can be highly advantageous for the overall productivity of the team to have a clear leader within the group.
A leader can ensure that there is a consistent vision within the team, communicating clear goals and delegating responsibilities in a manner that distributes the work evenly and fairly.
An effective leader won’t lead with an iron fist, but with an iron hand that can give members of the team a pat on the back for good work. Authority and honesty are factors that can make or break your team, so choose your champion carefully.
4. CONNECTION BREEDS HARMONY
They’re only human – the members of your team work better when they like the people they’re working with, so make sure that they’re not going for each other’s throats every meeting. Encouraging collaboration and using effective team-building exercises can make sure that your employees get along, fostering relationships that will improve their productivity and ability to work together as they have a stronger trust and confidence in one another.
5. GET THEM TO BOND THROUGH HOBBIES
Work hard, play hard. Productive hobbies can be a great way to get your team to bond, and so can be incredibly beneficial for your business. Things such as volunteering, yoga, video games, and managing blogs are productive hobbies that can make members of your team work better together whilst improving their abilities to work in a team environment.
6. GIVE FEEDBACK AND POINTERS TO IMPROVE
It’s a good idea to develop effective techniques of giving feedback and reviews. Proactivity is key – giving constant advice regarding work that your employees have completed can be incredibly useful as members of the team will improve daily, not simply when problems arise.
For any big project that is completed, give feedback on it, even if your initial impressions are overwhelmingly positive. Feedback becomes far less useful when it is only given in response to disappointing work – it's far more effective if it is a regular, consistent process that can be used to improve your team regularly every day.
7. CONSTANTLY REWARD AND ACKNOWLEDE
Alongside proactive feedback, make an effort to constantly acknowledge work and reward big successes. If it is deserved, whether it’s an individual or the whole team, give accolades and praise.
This recognition can go a long way in improving your team’s motivation, loyalty, and trust – incentivising them to constantly improve and make high quality work. Recognise and reward great ideas to encourage individual voices to contribute new directions for the team.
Making these ideas a reality can motivate employees to think outside the box and come up with more creative ideas that can result in great productivity amongst the whole team.
8. CELEBRATE SUCCESS, REFLECT AFTER FAILURE
As stated before, acknowledging, and rewarding the efforts of your team can be incredibly beneficial to their motivation, trust, and productivity. On the other hand, any failures within the team should not be met with antagonising messages.
Reflect on what went wrong, how it could be improved for next time, and make a tangible plan for how you can implement new strategies within the team. It is crucial that you don’t let the team environment devolve into a blaming game where people put the fault of the group’s shortcomings on others. This will reduce the overall trust and confidence that the members of the group have with each other, turning the once harmonious group into an episode of Game of Thrones where people start to wonder who they can trust and rivalries can develop that can be disastrous for workplace productivity.
9. CREATE A CULTURE
We’re not saying that you should have Taco Tuesdays every week (although, if that idea is appealing to you, go for it), but having a consistent workplace culture can be extremely beneficial to your teams.
This can be done in a laissez-faire approach or by sharing guidelines that will help them work together. When involved within a workplace culture, employees will develop a confidence within the team as there is a sense of communal, consistent values that everyone follows.
10. KEEP TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION BETWEEN EVERYONE
Emails can be dry, cold, and, for lack of another adjective, bad. They confer a very impersonal tone when they’re sent and are inherently disconnected and distant from whomever you’re trying to communicate with.
Actual conversations, whether face-to-face or over sites such as Skype or Zoom, can go a long way in eliminating any misunderstandings within the group, resolving disagreements, and ensuring that the overall approach of the group is cohesive and consistent.
When you deliver feedback, this method will have a much stronger impact as it will feel like it’s coming directly from you with thought put into it, rather than something you did quickly and without care.
The benefits of teams cannot be understated. If done well, they can be great ways to incorporate the talents of many of your employees, allowing them to work off each other to create great work that could not have been created otherwise.
They can be tricky to work with, potentially fighting with each other over the overall objectives and vision of the group; but with proper management, they can work harmoniously and be productive, contributing greatly to your business.
By creating a culture that is built upon the foundations of communication, connection, reward and recognition, trust and transparency - you will be able to watch your team flourish in real time!
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