The scope and scale of some projects may require that your organization assemble teams comprised of people from various departments or individuals who usually work alone.
Creating the right conditions will encourage everyone on the team to share ideas while feeling empowered to perform in a collaborative manner.
The closer your employees work, the smoother the project will run.
Without a sense of unity, the group’s progress will suffer. The following team building tips will help your team feel more connected and committed to accomplishing your organization’s mission.
Outline Corporate Values and Vision
Explaining core values and vision will help individuals understand how they and the team fit within the context of the organization’s overall strategic plan. You want to create a culture where teams embrace the larger group’s principles, values and vision. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie once said that teamwork is the ability to work together and direct individual accomplishments toward a common vision and organizational objectives.
It is the energy that allows common people to attain uncommon results. The common goal or shared vision for which they are striving is what brings the team together as a unit. Helping your employees envision the bigger picture will provide the context that the employees need to stay motivated and focused.
Set Clear Objectives
By setting defined goals and providing clear direction, the employees will understand how they contribute to the success of the project as individuals and as a group. This agreement and commitment is required for effective teamwork because, as Yogi Berra said, “If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else."
While the team will have an overall goal, it is important to break it down into smaller tasks and to set milestones with their own deadlines. Accomplishing various milestones will help the team stay on task and understand that they can achieve more as a cohesive unit. Each time the team reaches a goal, recognize the accomplishment and set a more challenging one so that the team is encouraged to grow and build on their success.
While team members are individuals with their own strengths, knowledge and experiences, the purpose of forming a team is to take advantage of all those qualities collectively. This requires team members to have a strong sense of belonging to the group as well as a commitment to its decisions and actions.
Cohesion is accomplished when the team uses a standard protocol for resolving conflicts. Encourage the team to continually examine itself and improve its practices and interactions while removing any obstacles that may be hindering its ability to move forward or capitalize on the team’s efforts and talents.
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The agreed upon procedures will help eliminate personality conflicts and prevent members from picking sides. It will promote mutual resolutions and aid the team in making decisions together. A strong collaborative effort can resolve conflicts, accomplish goals, and build commitment to the team. You should also ensure that team members know the strengths and skills of their fellow teammates. This helps each person understand his or her role as well as those of other members and how they complement one another to produce greater efficiency.
According to Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success."
Business writer Patrick Lencioni said, “Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
This is accomplished by creating and maintaining open and honest lines of communication that foster easier workflow and promote feedback so that all team members feel included. It will encourage team members to freely express their views and opinions in a productive manner that builds a foundation of mutual trust and respect.
You want people to feel comfortable taking on reasonable risks without having a fear of being punished for disagreeing. Breaking down barriers also helps promote a creative environment where people can brainstorm openly and draw on the strength of the team’s diversity as they discuss the progress of a project. It helps team members make and accept the changes required to accomplish short- and long-term goals. Clear lines of communication also help to keep everyone focused on top priorities, which enables the team to flourish as a group.
Reinforce and Appreciate Team Efforts
In any workplace, creating a strong team that works together to achieve a common vision, project or goal is a strong advantage. As Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
It is important to keep the team motivated. Continually emphasize the fact that the group can accomplish more together than they can as individuals. Develop support systems that recognize and reward the team for reaching specific goals. People may be reluctant to complete a task or project if they do not readily see how doing so benefits them directly. Praise team members whenever possible so that everyone feels appreciated for their contributions and efforts.
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Effective compliments increase employee motivation and provide a better sense of accomplishment from being part of a team. Meet in a public forum to celebrate the performance of the team as they achieve major milestones. Ensure that your organization’s recognition program allows employees to honor their colleagues. While employees appreciate the accolades of management, tributes from colleagues reinforce the commitment to the success of the team.