Teamwork - Getting everyone to pull in
the same direction


We frequently talk about ‘the team’ in our businesses when we’re really just talking about the group of people who work there. A team is a lot more than just a collection of employees; it’s people who actively work together to achieve the business’ vision and goals.

Teams don’t just happen. They’re built by forward-thinking managers who recognise the value of teamwork and actively set up the right conditions for it to flourish. In fact it takes real planning and commitment to turn a group into a team, but consider some of the business benefits:

      -  Willing collaboration and sharing of ideas to develop new or better solutions for the way things get done

      -  A sense of belonging that is good for individual and workplace morale by minimising conflict and getting
         people engaged with their jobs

You can make a good start on building a team just by making sure you have the right foundation to build on. Here’s where to start.

      1.  Develop a vision for your business: The greatest benefit of teamwork is it’s ability to get everyone pulling
           in the same direction. But if the business doesn’t have a clear idea of where it is going and what it
           wants to achieve, then you can’t get people to look outside their own immediate task, see the bigger
           picture, and work towards achieving it.

      2.  Prepare job descriptions: It’s helpful if every team member has a written job description that sets out
           their individual role and responsibilities. Without clear guidelines on what they are meant to be doing
           there will be a lack of focus and some argument about who is responsible for what.

      3.  Improve your leadership skills: It’s a major challenge to run a group of people as a team and requires
           some real skill, particularly in the areas of interpersonal communication, conflict resolution and acting as a
           team leader rather than as the ‘boss’. If need be, take some lessons to improve these skills.

      4.  Document your workplace practice policies: In the absence of agreed practices within the workplace a
           lot of conflict and resentment can be generated just through people ‘doing their own thing’. Set rules
           about potential conflict areas like smoking in the workplace, personal use of equipments and so on and
           sidestep these opportunities for clashes between team members.

      5.  Create channels for communication: One of the defining features of a real team is the quality of
           communication that takes place between people. To allow that to happen, you need to create the
           channels, such as a regular team meeting, and a way of handling discussion that allows people to feel
           safe in speaking up and sharing ideas.

      6.  Do some teambuilding exercises: While a lot of teambuilding happens in the workplace it can be valuable
           to take time out for some formal teambuilding activities. The type you choose should be suited to your
           team and what it does, but there’s a large range you can consider - from trust exercises to weekend

      7.  Celebrate together: Build in some fun to the work routine to relieve stress and let off steam occasionally.
           There are any number of things you could do from workplace drinks and snacks on Friday afternoon to
           group outings.

Teamwork is a big asset to any business – the same number of people at work but working together better and more efficiently. But it won’t happen unless you build on solid foundations.

Until next week,
Mike Reddy