As a manager, it’s critical that your employees learn how to work as a solid team in order to maximize productivity, efficiency and trust in the workplace. However, a diverse group of people can often seem difficult to pair together, and many managers are left with an organized disarray of employees who don’t collaborate as effectively or as often as you’d like.
It takes effort and managerial organization to help build teamwork among your employees. There are many classic business takes on how to promote team leadership, particularly if your team appears just a bit too varied to easily connect. But with some team-building exercises, helpful frank discussions and patience, your group of employees can form a cohesive and efficient workplace team.
Identify shared values of the group
One of the difficulties of bringing a team together is in helping every individual figure out what role they will serve on the team, what they will be expected to bring to the table and how they can benefit from their fellow teammates. As a manager, it’s critical to take time and think about the needs of your employees to help identify where each piece belongs.
An effective developmental task to help organize a team and bring members together is to have each team member identify what values they consider important in teamwork, such as dedication, attention to detail, communication or making bold decisions. Compile the different values and as a group, identify one or two that most or all employees share or can agree to, and discuss what behaviors or actions from individual team members can bolster those values.
By helping teammates commit to a shared ideal that they can fulfill in concrete ways, the group can get a sense of direction and purpose, as well as clear commitments to ease the burden for each of their teammates.
Use training exercises that encourage bonding
Team building activities can run the risk of being too corny, childish or shallow to effectively bring employees together in a workplace. Rather than make-believe scenarios or games, have your employees engage in team bonding by hosting lunch discussions. Provide a meal and assign your employees and ask them to spend some time discussing work scenarios or difficulties they might encounter and to talk about potential solutions for such an encounter. Consider scheduling times for your employees to shadow one another, to give members better insight into what their co-workers are doing and how an individual could impact them.
Don’t be afraid to take your employees out of the workspace to promote team building. Consider a company sports team or marathon training event to provide outdoor bonding time for your employees, or take the group out for lunch. Put your team in scenarios where they must act as a cohesive group and give them the opportunity to engage with each other.
Emphasize the goal of the team’s work
Each individual must understand their individual role in a team, how their work affects others, and what others are contributing in order to build a cohesive group. Spend time with your team discussing project goals, including a breakdown of what responsibilities are handled by who. It’s important to give your team a sense of direction, in particular a sense of who their work will benefit, whether it’s themselves, a particular client or a community. Give them a reason to care about their work, and a reason to care about the work of their fellow teammates.
By identifying values for the team to work towards, helping members understand how their work affects their co-workers and giving your team a chance to naturally socialize and present themselves to others as a group, your diverse set of employees can be transformed into an effective, hard-working and cohesive team.
I’m a social entrepreneur and a strong believer in using people-to-people networks through the use of technology to improve people’s lives.