How to Promote Teamwork in the Workplace
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
There’s no doubting that, when your employees work together, as a collective unit, they are more efficient and productive than if they were to work as individuals.
The problem we face is that many of us naturally tend to focus on our individual tasks, without thinking of including others into the process. The aim, then, is to get your team to start thinking as a collective unit and naturally include others in their processes.
Of course, you could simply ask your employees to work more as a team but this might be more difficult for certain members of your staff, especially if there are systems in place that prevent teamwork from flourishing.
So, what steps can you take to create a culture where your employees are promoted to work more as a team?
- Lead the Way
- Give Your Teams Targets
- Provide Regular Team Rewards
- Make Every Meeting a Team Meeting
- Set Up Team-Building Activities
- Open Up Lines of Communication
- Consider Your Office Layout
1. Lead the Way
As a leader, you need to embody the style that you want your team to adopt. If you want them to start working as a team, guess what? You need to promote a team working attitude within yourself.
Involve your team in the work that you do and, where you can, get involved with theirs. Offer them support at every stage of their projects and get to know how they work. Some of your staff might be less inclined to come to you for support but, on the whole, if you offer your support, they’ll appreciate you making the effort to make the workplace a more team-driven environment.
By presenting yourself as a vision of the team you wish to build, you set an example for everyone else to follow and you’ll start to see them working together without you even having to ask.
2. Give Your Teams Targets
Everyone in your organisation should be working towards a certain set of goals and objectives. When working as a team, this should be no different.
If you want to encourage your employees to work together, you need to set them clear, achievable goals that they can strive towards together. If there’s nothing concrete or seemingly achievable to work towards, how can you expect them to know when to work as a team?
By setting clear guidelines of what you expect them to achieve, you’ll soon see them working as one towards a common goal.
3. Provide Regular Team Rewards
What’s the use of having these objectives if your team are not rewarded when they hit them. One of the best ways to motivate your teams to work together is to provide a reward scheme.
Don’t just reward individually, reward as a team. That means that members of the team are more likely to help one another if they know they will also be rewarded for their colleagues’ good performance.
It’s a good idea to include an individual award for the best team worker. This would go to the person who has shown a willingness to help out their colleagues and adopt a team working attitude.
4. Make Every Meeting a Team Meeting
One reason your staff might be hesitant to get involved with their colleagues’ work is the lack of knowledge they have around the others’ roles and projects.
To counter this concern, you can transform your individual meetings into team efforts. What I mean by this is, if you have an upcoming strategy meeting with a particular member of your team, if you invite the rest of the team to sit in on the meeting, they’ll all have a better idea of that member’s role.
If you roll this out for every meeting and include each member of your team in each others’ strategy, you’ll ensure that every team member is capable of taking on the workload of others and perform towards the business’ goals together. When your employees are aware of how each team member’s role works, they will be abler, and more willing, to help.
5. Set Up Team-Building Activities
When was the last time you set up a team-building activity in the workplace? This might be where your team-working issues lie.
How do you expect to know how to build a team working environment if you aren’t regularly encouraging it?
These activities don’t have to be large-scale. You can turn your everyday meetings into activities in order to start promoting a team-working culture. Get your team to work together to solve problems in the meetings and offer them challenges that they have to overcome collectively.
By seeing which members of your team work well together during these activities, you’ll be better able to place your staff in effective groups for working as teams.
6. Open Up Lines of Communication
A team that gets along is more likely to work well together.
It’s a simple idea. You’re more inclined to work with people that you like and get along with. One of the main reasons your staff don’t want to work together is due to some underlying conflict that, for whatever reason, doesn’t get spoken about.
As a leader, conflict resolution should be one of your top priorities and the way to achieve that is through communication. Use the MAD, SAD, GLAD framework to find out what conflicts might be bubbling under the surface of your company.
On the other hand, the reason your employees aren’t working as a team might not be due to an unwillingness to do so. It might come down to a lack of knowledge that the other members need help. By encouraging team members to speak up when they need assistance, and creating a culture where communication is encouraged, your employees will be more willing to help one another.
7. Consider Your Office Layout
This one is very self-explanatory. Look at the position in which your team works, geographically from one another. Does their formation promote the team-working culture you’re looking for?
There’s a huge focus these days on office layout and design. This is an idea practised and preached by huge tech companies like Apple and Google who are always looking to promote teamwork and creativity in the way they design their workspaces.
With the rise of communal workplaces, like WeWork, we can see business leaders are looking to turn their offices into team-working environments. Will you be doing the same?
As you can see, promoting a more team-working culture among your staff doesn’t have to be difficult. If you lead the way and make a few changes here or there, you’ll soon begin to see your employees work together and offer each other help in their roles.
Lead by example and your teams will follow.