Great teams don’t happen by accident. There are several components that you need to have in place for a great team to emerge. You need to have a vision for everyone to rally behind. You need to have a leader who fosters and encourages teamwork and collaboration. Crucially, you need a work environment that is conducive to working together toward a shared goal.
This last point is one that a lot of companies are starting to pay attention to, and to rethink conventions. Consider the “open office” phenomenon. Consider the number of companies that believe you have to have a big, fun campus like Google’s in order to have a truly coherent and effective team.
Your office environment can certainly have an impact on team dynamics, but it’s not the most important thing. The more important thing is your company culture—something that’s reflected in how you lead, how you manage, how you arrange your office, how you communicate with your team, and more.
The question is, how do you develop an organizational culture that sparks true teamwork and camaraderie?
- The first thing to remember is that, as I’ve noted in a previous blog, great teamwork begins with, well, a great team. What I mean by that is that you lay the foundations for great teamwork simply by assembling a team of individuals who fit in with your company culture and values, and who bring diverse and complimentary skills to the table.
- Communication is, as ever, the key. Quiet teams are usually not very productive or unified teams. That doesn’t mean you have to plan a corporate getaway or a team-building activity every day of the week, but do plan 10 or 15 minutes each day just to get everyone together to discuss the team’s goals and progress.
- Implicit in the previous step is making sure your employees all know what the team goals are. Make sure there is a roadmap of where things are headed, and that you communicate how everyone fits in on that roadmap.
- Set clear, measurable goals both for the team overall and for individuals. Make those goals challenging, but attainable—and make sure you offer recognition and affirmation when goals are met!
- Try to avoid anything that stands in the way of effective, two-way dialogue. Everyone on the team should feel comfortable offering thoughts, opinions, and critiques. If there is fear about speaking up or speaking out, you have a problem you need to address!
- Work to correct performance issues promptly and privately. A team member who clashes with others or doesn’t understand the team goals may just need a little extra counseling or communication.
- Finally, remember that teamwork begins with the leader of the company. Lead by example. Communicate openly, be accepting of feedback, cherish other voices and opinions, and solicit help when you need it!
Building a great team is something that will require strategy—and real leadership—but it can yield remarkable results.