Building a Well-Oiled Team is Hard...5 Steps You Can Take to Foster Teamwork
As business owners and leaders, you want to have a well-oiled team. One that collaborates, works well together, has the company’s and each other’s best interest at heart. When you give the team an overview of a project, you expect that the project will be done well, on time, and on budget, with little oversight from you. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Teams like that take time to develop. Your team can get there, too, but it will require you to foster the relationships that create this atmosphere. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
In a previous position, I managed a team that was far from the ideal outlined above. Honestly, they were about as far from this scenario as they could be! There were three divisions in the office, responsible for different parts of the production process. Each group thought they were the “most important” part of the process, and “too good” to help the other areas. It took some time, but using the steps below, it came together landing close to the ideal I described. The results were well worth the effort. Here are five steps that you can take to develop your best team.
- Know Your Team Members on an Individual Level: To create the successful team you envision you have to be invested in the team and know each member on a personal level. You do not have to eat lunch with them every day, but make a point to check in on each team member weekly. Set up 1x1 time monthly to have a more formal conversation. The personal connection you develop will help you determine who are natural leaders, strong team members, and those who need more training or support in their current role. You will also discover who can be depended on as the team grows.
- Your Team Should Know Each Other on an Individual Level: To create an atmosphere of collaboration, the team members need to connect individually as well. Not everything has to be about work. Arranging lunches or outside events where they can connect on a personal level will further strengthen the team you are creating. Other team-building activities can take place during staff meetings or off-site retreats. Many of these activities can be done if you have a virtual team, too! Those connections make working as a team and towards a common goal easier to accomplish, as they will want to see their teammates and themselves succeed.
- Communicate Effectively to Your Team: I can hear you thinking, “Well, Jill...obviously!” But let’s dive a little deeper. Team leaders often communicate in ways that they prefer to be communicated to - and often forget that the team members prefer a different communication style. Consider using a free personality test, like 16 Personalities, to obtain a basic understanding overall of each team member. As leaders, understanding how best to communicate with individual team members and the team as a whole will help ensure everyone is on the same page with projects, job duties, key performance indicators (KPIs) or annual goals. Consider setting up a project management board through Asana or Monday. Remember to communicate team wins and individual accomplishments - everyone likes to hear about success!
- Encourage Open Communication, Providing Ground Rules for Team Interaction: Team members should feel comfortable contributing ideas and voicing opinions. The best part about team dynamics is all the great ideas that different people generate from their professional and personal experiences. Setting and communicating ground rules around respect, celebrating successes, efficiency, and addressing conflict allows everyone to start with an equal playing field. Remind staff of the rules every so often, especially if a team member crosses the line. As a manager, remember to play by the same rules.
- Assign Mentors or Team Liaisons: When creating this well-oiled team of yours, having the resources in place for the team is critical. Mentoring programs are an excellent way to support new team members in organizations of all sizes, in-person or virtually. Offer an accessible folder where you house Standard Operating Procedures. Provide a strong onboarding or orientation session when new team members start - or review it with the current team. When people know where to go for help, the team works better and is less stressed overall.
What other steps have you taken to improve teamwork and communication in your team? Let me know by sharing an idea or commenting on any of the above.
Let’s Build Talent and Achieve VA can help you build the team of your dreams, whether it is in-person or virtual. Reach out to us today by scheduling a free 30-minute discovery call to see how we can help!