Teamwork is the bedrock of any business endeavor.
Research by Gallup shows how much the bottom line benefits from true teamwork. When they compared businesses with highly engaged employees working in cohesive teams to those without such teamwork, the benefits were stark and obvious.
Those with great teamwork had more satisfied customers, better employee retention and significantly higher productivity. The workers even reported being healthier and happier when they worked within a well-functioning team.
Gallup concluded that quality teamwork will actually improve a company’s profitability by as much as 21%. So how do you get there?
First, let's start by going over the characteristics of a dynamite team:
Good question! It does not happen by accident, but with some focus and effort, teamwork can be developed or enhanced. Gallup research shows that by taking the right steps, a company can boost its bottom line by actively building more functional teams, even among existing employees.
So yes, it is actually possible to go from a group of independent loners doing their own thing while sniping at one another, to a group focused on mutual goals who trust and respect one another. Sound impossible? It’s not.
As a leader in the company, it’s your job to make this happen. Great teams need great leaders.
This seems obvious but even so, it’s the best place to start. The more people feel the cohesiveness of the group, the better. The more they like, trust and respect each other, the better.
Here is our list of 5 steps to take to improve productivity through team building.
The first step listed is to make team building a priority. If you really want to make it happen, you can't put it on the back burner. Make learning and professional development part of the company culture with consistent emphasis and put it all into practice.
The second step is to honestly evaluate what is happening right now. How well are folks working together at this very moment?
Obviously, if people constantly bicker, or worse try to sabotage one another, morale is low and cooperation probably is too. Letting this go on can eventually kill your business.
There are a variety of ways to deal with this but to do so effectively, you as the manager have to be honest and fair. This is not always easy. Sometimes you might have to intervene and take action.
A toxic employee can be horribly detrimental to your efforts at team building. If any progress is to be made, a toxic employee might even have to be let go. However, be aware that a truly toxic person can make it seem like everybody else is the problem, and not them.
This means you need to listen to every single person. Don’t judge too quickly. Hold meetings with the group and speak to people individually. Some folks won’t say a word in front of the whole group but will sing like a bird if you get them off by themselves.
Once you have evaluated the situation honestly, start making concrete plans. Incorporate employee feedback. People who feel like they are listened to will develop a positive attitude. People who feel like they are ignored develop a negative one.
Your plans should include a step-by-step guide that can, and should, be shared. The more you can make people feel included, the more they will want to cooperate.
This guide can serve as a roadmap, or blueprint. List goals as well as events, requirements and expected milestones.
Progress can be tracked. Everyone will be able to see that the plan is working, which will inspire folks and lead them toward even more success.
A well-coached basketball team is a great example of people working together. Player 1 passes off to player 2, who hands the ball off to player 3, who goes in for the score. All 3 players made it happen, not just the one who actually scored.
Games are actually a fantastic way to build teams. For one thing, games are fun and people who have fun together are more likely to be able to work well together too.
Lots of professional development and professional team building exercises take advantage of games to bring people together.
So think about coming up with activities where people have to work together to solve a puzzle or a mystery. You want it to be fun, not a chore that people will resent.
People who laugh together will work well together, even when the stress level rises.
Does your team need to improve specific skills that will help them be more productive? Probably. If so, find some training programs for increased skill development.
For example, even the most highly-trained and skilled employees need ongoing training in computer software. The lightning speed of software development makes that a pressing need for absolutely everyone.
Nothing is more frustrating than updating your software and then not knowing how to use the update. This means that SAP Training is an ongoing and constant need for the vast majority of employees. Luckily, you can easily provide access to online SAP courses that people can work on individually.
Anyone can learn SAP with the proper training. Make it a rewarded goal for employees to earn an SAP certification. This will help them individually and the team as a whole. Even though there is no “I” in team, what helps the individual usually helps the team too.