3 ways to improve teamwork in your business

You can never do anything worthwhile alone without the help of your team. In order to thrive, a business needs team collaboration at its highest levels. This is why we need to build great teams at work. But what does it take to build a better team? Is team building an art or a science?

Ask that to any management guru or business leader, the answer would be almost similar. It is a bit of both. Assembling different team members, motivating them and keeping your team members happy is easier said than done.

Although you cannot overstate the importance of having a great team for your business’ success, creating a magical team is a complicated task requiring you to combine and balance lots of moving parts and things in the right order.

Read more: 5 handy collaboration tools your startup team can use to be more efficient

Fortunately there are several studies and tips available on the Internet shedding light on how to create a perfect team to enhance your teamwork skills. Here are three tips to help build your teamwork skills for success:

Identify What Makes a Great Team

Now some teams are better and smarter than others, but almost all great teams have some common characteristics. The following are some characteristics your team needs to possess to become an effective and highly productive one.

  • Each team member needs to work together to achieve a common goal, no matter how petty his/her role or contribution is
  • Having common goals is not enough; the team members must also negotiate their shared aims and goals
  • Each team member must be involved and actively negotiate the roles, relationships and functional norms within the team
  • There must be interdependency between members as it is imperative for all to be successful in order to be a successful team
  • Each member must equally contribute to the workload
  • Decisions must be taken by consensus and skills and resources must be used effectively
  • Communication and collaboration is essential to monitor team performance, processes and dynamics as well as to encourage productive work practices and drive creativity
  • Members must ignore differences of opinion and avoid personalising problems and rather work towards the interests of the team as a whole
  • There must be a collective consciousness, especially if the team has remote members working from different locations
  • They must listen to each other, show interest, help to clarify ideas, and respect contributions. More importantly, there must be a mutual trust and respect within the team
  • Individual contributions must be brought together seamlessly and the experience must be enriching for each member; this is only possible when they can work without any kind of intervention

There is no hard and fast rule that a team needs to achieve all of these characteristics to enhance their performance, although it certainly helps. But developing these elements is a challenging job for many.

Create Better Collaboration for a Better Teamwork

Collaboration is an essential part of a great team. In fact, it is the foundation of better teamwork. To make your workplace more productive, you need to focus on this aspect. A team that just gets along is not enough, you need a team that performs at higher level in a collaborative environment. While there will be differences in ideas, perspectives and expertise, you need to harness differences in a positive way to find unity within a highly diverse workforces.

According to a CEB report, 60% of employees work with ten or more people on a daily basis. Such greater human capital consequences make workplace environment even more complex as team members now need to report to more than one manager. The question therefore is how to harness collaboration to achieve better teamwork skills?

Using a collaborative tool that encourages and enhances agility is essential, but you also need to take certain other steps to create a culture of proper communication and collaboration. These include:

  • Become self-aware. Even if you are the one putting forth big ideas, think about other things your team members need to know such as why you took the decision and how they can help to achieve it etc.
  • Be open to collaboration and bring in others for greater creativity and to get works done more efficiently. Also, keep your commitment as trust is critical to collaboration as well as to build teamwork skills.
  • Encourage an environment of learning and development. To improve teamwork you need to ensure all your employees are on the same level and this can be achieved only by proper training and development programs. In addition to traditional classroom training you need to impart skills in collaboration via on-demand channels such as mobile, social and e-learning.

In addition, make collaboration a competency. Teach and measure collaboration and don’t forget to convey the end goals. In other words, turn your collaborative efforts from something intangible to tangible, business driven and goal-oriented elements so that your employees start considering collaboration as a part of their job.

Manage Group Dynamics

As mentioned earlier, it’s only natural for teams to be cohesive. In fact, those teams are usually the best ones as they bring in a pool of talent and fresh ideas, which when combined help a business thrive. However, you need to be very careful while managing team dynamics as relationships are not always harmonious, regardless of how small the team is. To create a productive and cohesive team, you need to consider a few key factors such as:

    • Define the key roles of each member explicitly so that there is no confusion. Divide roles as per your project needs and individual strengths so that each member makes a positive contribution.
    • In addition, make your team members understand the need to change and adapt to new roles as needs become apparent. They need to be flexible and balanced so that they can take up or adapt to a broad range of roles, if required.
    • To manage team dynamics you also need to manage the contribution of each team member. This can make or break your team dynamic, so be very diligent about it. Make sure there is no room for resentment. Have periodic meetings and create a culture of free flow of communication to monitor the contribution of each member towards the progress/completion of a project.

Finally, focus on feedback and make it a good, constructive one instead of just criticising your team members.

To build better teamwork skills, you need to first focus on the positives. How the team and each individual has been contributing successfully towards the development of the organisation?

Identify their strength and weaknesses. First praise the positives, give them roles that highlights and leverages their strength and then point out their flaws or ‘areas of improvement’ tactfully. In the end, focus on positives again. How you want them to contribute in their present role and what kind of resources or development programs you would be providing for the same?

These are some of the core values you need to embody to climb the stairs of success in your business.

Image by Creative Sustainability via Flickr

Sebastien Boyer


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