Working Together as a Team
Frequently we get asked about how to create a team-based environment in an organization. It’s actually not that difficult, but does require some work on the part of the leadership team and subsequently managers. I recently saw this quote from Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” It’s very appropriate that it’s all about working together as a team.
The Rules of the Game
If you want people to “play” with others they need to understand the rules of the game! That means engaging individuals in how their efforts impact their team’s success and how their team’s success contributes to the overall achievements of the company. If people don’t understand how their work connects to team and organizational wins, they can’t possible have a team attitude or take ownership. With that understanding it will be hard to keep them away.
So many organizations try to “train” specific actions and behaviors of teamwork without setting any context. To play on the team, people need to understand:
- The big picture of the organization and the marketplace
- The company’s strategy – where are they trying to go as a business
- Who their customers are
- How money is made and spent
- The key business processes
Straight to the Top
Appeal to the highest level of thinking with your employees and you will likely get the highest level of participation and results. Liberate the information the executive team has and people will likely have the same level of commitment as the leadership team. People are smart and they are hungry for information, and your ability to provide them with that information in a way that is resonates with them is tantamount to success.
Connect the Dots
Helping them understand how all of the functions working together as a team contribute to the business is part of telling that big picture story. But, it’s also part of helping them understand how their individual role contributes to their own team and ultimately the business. That big picture, system’s thinking tied to individual contributions means they only have one choice – they cannot help but be part of the team.
Effective teamwork: the key to success
Effective teamwork is an important aspect of any organisation’s success. There are many benefits of teamwork, most notably, an increase in motivation from your employees. A recent study by Stanford University showed that when people are treated as partners or team members – even when physically apart – their motivation increases. Motivation from your employees means more success for your company.
Developing an effective team in your organisation can seem like a simple and straightforward task, however it can be difficult to execute and put into practice. Members of your organisation want to be able to believe in the process and realise the wonderful outcomes that come from working together as opposed to individually; so it is up to the manager to ensure that enthusiasm is garnered and nourished.
The most important building block to develop and effective team is communication, so it is imperative to develop the necessary skills to communicate effectively with each other.
You want your employees to feel like they can put forth their ideas and express their feelings in an open environment, but you also need them to be keen listeners who are prepared to listen to the views of others. It can be easy for a team to fall apart quickly if its members favour their own personal goals over that of the team.
To keep the teamwork fire going, you need to establish regular and open lines of communication and monitor how the group interacts. Learning to communicate effectively is not a simple one step process and requires work from all sides. It is a great idea to have weekly meetings in which the manager is present in order to see how the team interacts with each and offer feedback on their achievements, as well as how the team meetings are running.
An effective team is one that has cohesion, to do this your team members need to exhibit the following skills:
- Openness – Team members need to be willing to get to know each other and open up about themselves, so they realised that they all have diverse backgrounds and interests. This helps them to be more open to new ideas and differing viewpoints.
- Trust – Team members need to trust each other enough to be comfortable with sharing ideas and feelings. As this trust builds, team members learn to be honest and respectful in their approach to each other.
- Respect – It is important for the team not to focus on who to blame when something goes wrong, instead they need to work out how to fix it and how to learn from the mistake. Constructive feedback and mutual respect rather than blame will help a team achieve results much faster.
Do you think the teams in your organisation are working efficiently and cohesively? What could you do as a manager to help this process? You can check how effective the teams within your organisation are by using our DIY Teamwork Analysis. It will only take you about 4 minutes to complete. Simply answer the questions and click submit, and you will immediately receive your insightful teamwork analysis report via email.