We learn at an early age the importance of working as a team. From little league baseball teams to group projects in college, teamwork is usually encouraged in a major way.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
- Michael Jordan
In the competitive nature of the business world, teamwork is something that seems to easily get lost. There often seems to be something of a knee-jerk negative reaction to the word “team project.” Teams mean dealing with different work styles, personality types, and competing for attention and recognition.
Resistance is often high; people sometimes feel as though spending time and effort working in teams can be a nuisance. And on top of that, time is often not spent in developing relationships amongst team members that can lead to trust and increased productivity. So it’s no wonder that people can resist working in teams. Regardless, teamwork is an important a part of the workplace experience which we can’t escape.
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision…it is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. – Andrew Carnegie
Employees who work as part of a successful team often have a higher level of morale, and are more likely to remain part of the company. Collaboration leads to an increase in exchange of ideas, and a higher potential for creativity.
So how can you promote teamwork that will lead to success?
Team Building: Conduct team building activities. We’ve all done them. Whether it was for scout camp, student leadership training, or on the job, we’ve all sat through team building activities, some more successful than others, though all with the intent to increase relationship building and team performance. Picking the right ones can be challenging though: do you really want to do trust-falls in a corporate boardroom? Sometimes a retreat or simple game can be effective; however in most cases a bit more thought and customization are required for success. Take the time to understand the goals of your team, a bit about personalities and experiences of the people who make up the team, and the culture and strategy of your organization. Explore the choices out there and determine the best fit.
Recognition: Recognize teams that perform well together. Not only does it boost the morale of the team, but providing recognition of their achievements also sets an example for the rest of the organization. Make sure not to neglect rewarding individual achievement as well; it can really affect an employee’s sense of purpose if their individual work is constantly unrewarded. Per ways on how to reward and recognize employees, start by asking them how they prefer to be recognized, and then determine what options are feasible. Not all people prefer to be recognized in the same ways.
Active Role: As an executive, supervisor, or team lead take an active role in promoting teamwork. While teamwork is usually a positive contributor to productivity, as most of us probably have experienced, sometimes it can bring about conflict. Be ready to mediate disputes and handle that conflict. Whether it’s helping with identifying or managing conflict, increasing communication, or building trust, it’s important to be aware of how teams function and find a way to actively contribute to supporting success.
“To promote cooperation and team work, remember, people tend to resist that which is forced upon them. People tend to support that which they helped create.” -Vince Pfaff
A person’s ability to successfully perform as part of a team is influenced by a wide range of experiences, personality, and choices. Some do better than others working in teams and some do better solo. But when a team can reach high performance together, they can often produce solutions that are beyond what the individual may be able to achieve. Promoting successful team building and team management in the workplace plays a huge role in your business’s success. It may be tough, but it’s worth it.
About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions - an Organizational Improvement & Strategy firm. He helps clients in facilitating sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing people –> performance –> profit™, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable.
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