Here are the steps to forming an effective group. The first rule of team building is self-evident: in order to effectively lead a team, you must first establish leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders cultivate relationships based on trust and loyalty, not fear or positional power.
- Value the contributions of each employee’s thoughts. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a bad idea.
- Be conscious of your employees’ hidden emotions. Set a good example for your team by communicating openly with them and being attentive to their moods and sentiments.
- Assist with the harmonization of the situation. Look for opportunities to reconcile and resolve minor conflicts, and keep the team’s higher goals in mind.
- When communicating, be concise. Make sure that all instructions are clear.
- Encourage your team’s members to work together and trust one another. Remember that the bonds that team members form with one another are just as crucial as the bonds that you form with them. Pay special attention to how team members collaborate as the team takes shape, and take actions to strengthen communication, cooperation, trust, and respect in those relationships.
- Encourage people in your team to share knowledge. Emphasize the importance of each team member’s contribution and show how all of their jobs work together to help the team achieve its goal.
- Delegate problem-solving responsibilities to the group. Allow the team to collaborate on unique solutions.
- Make communication easier. Keep in mind that communication is the most critical aspect of effective teamwork. Facilitating communication does not require constant meetings. Instead, it means leading by example by being open to suggestions and concerns, asking questions and offering assistance, and doing everything you can to keep your own communication clear.
- Team values and goals should be established, and team performance should be evaluated. Make sure to talk to members about their progress toward specified goals so that they understand both their accomplishments and the challenges that lie ahead. Teamwork should be addressed in performance standards. Discuss with your team:
- What are the most important aspects of our job?
- To this group, what does the term “success” imply?
- What actions can we take to live up to our stated values?
- Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish; that you know what your standards for success are going to be; that you have established clear time frames; and that team members understand their responsibilities.
- Use consensus. Set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee’s commitment to all phases of the work.
- Establish ground rules for the group. These are the guidelines that you and your team develop in order to maximize efficiency and achieve success. They might be simple directives (team members must arrive on time for meetings) or broad principles (every team member has the right to give thoughts and comments), but you must ensure that the team creates and adheres to these ground rules as a group and as individuals.
- Create a method for reaching a consensus. You might want to hold an open discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of various proposals, or form study committees to investigate topics and produce findings.
- Encourage thinking and active listening. Your first priority as a supervisor in achieving consensus is to encourage debate. Keep in mind that employees are often frightened to disagree with one another, and this fear might lead to subpar decisions on your team’s part. When you encourage debate, you stimulate originality, which will motivate your team to achieve higher achievements.
- Set the parameters for the consensus-building meetings. Be aware of the dissatisfaction that can arise when the team is unable to reach a consensus. Establish time restrictions at the start of your meeting and work with your team to reach consensus within those parameters. Be wary of false consensus; if a decision is reached too quickly, investigate individual team members to learn their true thoughts about the suggested answer.
So, there you have it: some suggestions for improving teamwork in your workplace. Try sowing a few of these seeds in your company, see which ones work best for you, and reap the benefits of better teamwork. We’d love to hear from you if you have any additional great ideas!