Working Together As a Team: The 9 Keys to Success
Working together as a team seems like a simple concept. But it can be more challenging than many people expect. All it takes is for some of your team members to not work well together. Next thing you know, chaos ensues. This article’s designed to prevent that scenario form occurring in your organization. Teams that work well with one another position their companies for great success. Not to mention, better profit margins. Below are the nine keys to working well as a team.
1) Great communication.
There’s a reason communication’s listed first in this article. It’s the most important aspect of teamwork. Without communication, teams cannot function and perform well. Communication has to be open and honest at all times. This includes moments when team members are in disagreement. It’s better to work things out now than procrastinate. If the latter occurs, it’s likely team members will harbor resentment and animosity. That’s the last thing that your company needs. This is why you should encourage teammates to hear out what each person has to say. They should also get prompted to ask each other questions. The more questions asked, the more open the dialogue will become. And progress will never become clear without a company culture of open dialogue.
2) Respect for each team member on an individual level.
Being part of a team doesn’t mean that the team members should have to hide their individuality. Instead, it should get recognized and appreciated. This needs to become very clear to superiors and managers. It’s only natural that a team is going to consist of different types of personalities and skillsets. It is the manager’s responsibility to understand what each person excels at. Teams succeed when each person uses his or her strengths. When you combine those strengths, you get success as a result. Sure, each person is going to have their own weaknesses. But don’t waste time focusing on them. Assemble your team based on their strengths.
3) Promoting creative thinking.
Creativity is a key component to business success. It’s one that many companies tend to overlook. Creativity is the secret weapon when it comes to problem-solving. That’s why managers should encourage creative thinking amongst their team. This means sticking to the following notion. “There’s no such thing as a stupid idea.” Well, sometimes there is. But ideas lead to solutions. And that’s why your team should make an effort to come up with new ideas. The more supportive the environment, the easier it will be for new ideas to materialize. If you’ve got the time, allow your team to sometimes hold brainstorming sessions. These are where the team can toss new ideas around. Then, the best ideas can get presented at the next team meeting.
4) Refusal to micro-manage.
There are times in business in which micro-managing is necessary. But it should be a rare occurrence. Why? Because when you treat workers like children, they’re more likely to act like children. This concept remains the same when it comes to managing a team. You’ve got to respect each person in order for them to respect you.
Not micro-managing doesn’t mean you should let your team do whatever they please. You should:
-put clear goals in place
-provide the team with the tools that they’ll need to succeed
-establish an open line of communication
All the above are better alternatives than micro-managing. When an individual get micromanaged, he or she is less likely to put in solid effort. So, take a step back the next time you breathe down someone’s neck. Instead, work to establish a company culture fueled by honesty and trust. This way, great teamwork will form in an organic manner. No micro-managing necessary.
Trust is the foundation of any successful team. When there’s no trust, there’s no success. It’s that simple. But trust can’t exist on it’s own. It has to form by way of accountability. The more accountable team members are over time, the more trust will get created. Once team members trust one another, they’ll have greater freedom to take risks. They’ll also have more freedom to provide honest feedback to their peers. Did you catch that? Trust leads to honesty. Remember that the next time somebody tells you that trust-building exercises are useless.
In fact, consider having your team sometimes take part in trust-building exercises. There are plenty of easy-to-set-up exercises to look up online. All you have to do is Google “team trust-building exercises.” You should especially consider doing so if you feel the level of trust in your team is not high enough. Studies have even proven that teams who trust their peers are more likely to achieve success. That alone makes doing trust-building exercises worth considering. What should you do if there’s someone on your team who you cannot trust? It’s simple. Remove that person from your team. But do so only once he or she has failed to assimilate into the group.
6) Defining a role for each team member.
Don’t expect your team to be successful if there isn’t a leader onboard. If that leader isn’t you, then you should find an employee who can lead the group. Otherwise, tasks are not likely to get accomplished. Many companies make the mistake of trying too hard to make everyone have equal footing. This is great in theory. But teams need some sort of a hierarchy. Even if there’s only one person who’s the designated leader. Otherwise, confusion (and even chaos) is a likely outcome.
It is a manager’s responsibility to make sure that each team member has a clear, defined role. That role doesn’t have to become hidden from the team. For example, say you’re with the team and sitting in a meeting. You can say, “Sarah, since you’re the expert note-taker, can you…” Or, “Greg, you’re our go-to technology expert. Would you mind…” Comments like these will remind each person that they are on the team for a reason. As a result, their morale will get boosted. Why? Because it’s human nature for people to want to feel valued and appreciated. This will also increase the productivity of your team.
In order for the team to be successful, there cannot be any ambiguity. This applies to each person’s assigned role. All team members must know what they’re supposed to be doing on a daily basis. Otherwise, once again, there will be confusion. This will lead to a situation where employees are delegating their work to their peers. Next thing you know, one unlucky team member is complaining to you about having hours of extra work. Once again, this is why strong leadership’s required. A manager must be able to keep people on track. Talk to a worker when you feel like he or she isn’t living up to their responsibilities. It’s better to address problems fast than to put things off. The longer you procrastinate, the size of the problems will continue to increase. This is why it may be helpful to create a team strategy guide. This guide can get emailed to each person on the team. The guide will state each person’s name. Under the name, there will be a list of responsibilities and expectations. You could ask team members to refer to this guide when they’re unsure of who to go to for help.
7) Refusing to settle for mediocrity.
Your company has a vision. You, as a manager, have a vision. It’s time to make those visions a reality by assembling the right team. This means you need to staff your team the right way. How do you do so? Well, it all depends on what you want. But the key is to never settle for having a mediocre team. Many companies do all they can to create the “perfect” team. Over time, that “perfect” team reveals weaknesses that need to get corrected. A great manager is aggressive in fixing those weaknesses as soon as they become evident. This isn’t rocket science. This is persistent (and consistent) effort. Remember, having one bad apple on the team can be more than, well, bad. it can be toxic. If you feel someone is bringing the team down, take action. Remove that individual from your team before he or she has caused permanent damage.
8) Rewarding great teamwork.
Managers should conduct regular analysis of teams in their companies. And if the team has met or exceeded expectations, provide them with some sort of reward. What that reward should be is up to you and your organization. It can be anything from something simple to something lavish. It all depends on the level of blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the team’s project. Rewarding your team will motivate them to continue to do excellent work in the future.
9) Hiring a coach or consultant.
Say you’ve applied all the above information. You’re consistent and continue to put in place winning strategies. But nothing is working. If this is the case, don’t panic. It may mean your company might need to consider hiring a third-party coach or consultant. Sometimes an outside perspective’s needed to improve the infrastructure of a company. A coach can asses your team and help them build on their strengths. This will diminish chaos and give you some much needed order.
No one said it would be easy to manage a team. In fact, it’s often a lot more work than one might expect. That’s why you should consider the nine principles in this article. Don’t expect to have overnight success. All you can do is be consistent on a daily basis. Over time, your team will improve. Next thing you know, your company’s business metrics may soar. For more help with teamwork, check out more articles at BillionsInTheBank.com.