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How to Make Your Employees Feel Like a Team
Having a sense of camaraderie in the workplace can encourage increased levels of productivity, teamwork and collaboration. For your employees to feel like an effective team, they must have a respect for and understanding of one another, as well as the support and encouragement of management.
Establish Group Initiatives
Set team goals in addition to individual goals. Colleagues will be prompted to work in collaboration with one another toward collective outcomes, building a sense of cohesiveness. Be specific in outlining how goals are to be approached and measured, and define roles on the team to ensure no one feels overburdened with an inequitable share of the workload.
Communicate and Encourage
Promote open communication between team members through brainstorming sessions, team focus groups and feedback sessions. Encourage team members to problem-solve together and to mediate disputes within the group. Bolster staff members as teammates, using language that refers to the group as a collective entity rather than individuals. For example, “I know this group has what it takes,” or, “I have a lot of faith in our team.”
While competition can be healthy in an organization, it can be harmful to teamwork. Don’t pit team members against one another, but rather, encourage them to trust one another, share resources and use the best talents of each member of the group. Avoid creating scenarios that could cause inner-group strife, like showing favoritism within the team.
Conduct team-building exercises both inside and outside the workplace. For example, hold regular team meetings, host a monthly team luncheon, and pair off smaller teams from the group to work on tasks and projects. Participate in actual team activities, like forming a bowling league, creating a team for a charitable fun run or otherwise participating in group activities that can increase bonding.
Recognize and Reward
Recognize and reward employees in teams. For example, instead of “employee of the month,” have a “team of the month” award. When you run contests or incentive plans, have a team as well as individual categories to encourage collective work efforts. Evaluate teamwork as part of performance reviews and offer constructive advice on how to better facilitate group efforts.
Continually solicit feedback from team members about how they view the group dynamic. Keep an eye out for staffers who try to bully team members or control the group. Likewise, monitor the team for slacker behavior where one employee attempts to shirk responsibilities with the assumption someone else will handle his duties. Address these scenarios as they arise to keep your team strong and focused.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.
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