No man is an island, especially in a business organization. Everyone in the organization needs someone else’s help sometime or another, either as part of the regular work flow or during emergencies. Whether it’s the CEO or the cleaning lady, every person in an organization has to consider himself or herself as part of a team in order for a business to function smoothly. The moment a “That’s not my job!” attitude appears, you have the makings of a dysfunctional organization.
Team Spirit is Essential
Most modern businesses are structured around teams. Even those with highly individualized jobs like graphic design and publishing need active co-operation among various members of the organization for a final product to emerge. It is critical then for every member of the organization to understand the concept of teamwork and to consider his or her job as part of a team effort.
What Creates a Team Environment?
Creating a team environment in a company does not come easy. To effectively build teams, it is important to remember that:
Teamwork is based on a company’s culture. Companies that encourage open, honest communication and foster employee interaction are in a better position to have good teamwork among employees.
Team spirit comes from the top. Building effective teams with the right attitude emanates from the highest levels of an organization. Only by flattening the traditional organizational pyramid can one expect to instill the right team culture.
People must fit the culture. Some people are team players and some aren’t. It’s partly a question of personality and partly a matter of training. One person in the team with the wrong attitude can undermine the effort of the entire team. Hiring only people with the right traits for teamwork is crucial in building effective teams.
How to Get Everybody on Board
Teams are not born, they’re built. Here’s how to go about building an effective team where everyone considers it his or her job to pitch in and contribute to the overall team effort.
Start at the beginning – Hire people who fit into the company’s team culture. Use interviews and pre-employment assessments well to determine a person’s personality and traits. Look for cooperation and a willingness to listen in order to determine whether an applicant can work well in a team environment.
Let everyone know where you’re going – This means making employees part of the strategic planning process and making sure they understand the goals. It’s important that every team member buys into the plan.
Hold the team accountable for results – Establish clear team and individual expectations. Make sure everyone understands that it’s the result of the team’s work that counts. Base your reward system on the team’s ability to achieve its goals. Provide individual recognition based on contribution to the team effort.
Keep communication lines open – Encourage frank and open communication among team members and management. Solicit ideas and suggestions from team members on ways to better achieve the team’s goals.
Resolve team conflicts immediately – Work to correct performance, attitude or ethics problems of individual team members when it is possible. If the person just doesn’t fit into the team mold, replace him or her with one who does in order to protect the integrity of the team.
Keep morale high – Team members function best when their individual contributions to the team are recognized. This, in turn, leads to a strengthening of the team spirit among its individual members.
Making employees realize that they are part of one team is the best antidote to an insular, narrow-minded work attitude. This will engender a willingness on the part of everyone to pull in one direction, regardless of the job or task at hand.
Author: Lewis Edward is one of the owners of TheOfficeProviders. He is a real estate investor and entrepreneur with many interests in other sectors.