Team building is one of the most important steps to creating a cohesive and productive workplace. By fostering positive relationships among co-workers, managers and across departments, a company can create an atmosphere that is positive and vibrant leading to a low turnover rate and general satisfaction among its employees. While many employees are successful in independent thought and motivation, many lack the skills it takes to integrate themselves fully in to a team where ideas run rampant and concepts must be organized with careful consideration and compromise. To have a successful, highly-motivated and highly-productive team, they must first have someone in a position of leadership to take control and focus their efforts into guided tasks. An ideal team blends together the skills and talents of the individual in order to create an entity where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
One of the keys to strengthening a team is to build trust among its members, and encourage positive, constructive criticism from which the team may grow. Each member of the team has to believe that together they are better at the task than the individual would be alone. To foster this trust, it’s important to encourage interpersonal understanding of each member, their skills, and what they bring to the group. Each individual has a unique viewpoint and personality that fits in to the group differently than another member’s might.
To facilitate this understanding, some of the more successful teams have what is referred to as a ‘launch meeting’. This is a meeting which takes place before the actual discussion of progress on the project and helps foster clear communication. It is an open forum to touch base on the position of each member, and encourage open conversation of any successes or grievances against other group members or the project itself. By offering each member a chance to speak, trust is more clearly developed, and the individuals feel a personal investment in the success of the team.
Managing Emotional Intelligence
People are not machines, and should not be expected to perform a task without some basic understanding of the human condition. It’s important that leadership recognizes this and listens to the members’ concerns, offering thoughtful solutions when emotion embeds itself in to the fabric of the project. The best team members are those who care, not just for themselves, but for the other members of the team and the project itself. When an individual cares about the work they are doing, they are more invested in its failure and success. This may lead to a negative reaction to other individuals who may not be as invested, or those seen as ‘not pulling their weight.’ It’s important to allow team members to address this openly, in order to avoid frustration and mis-communication.
Celebrate Success Often
Victories are not limited to the end line of a goal or project. Each milestone is a step in the right direction, and each should be celebrated in its own right. Forward progress is success, and encouragement may lead to a sense of accomplishment for the team and the individuals involved. When individuals feel as though they are important to the result, there is a sense of pride, loyalty, and motivation generated. Celebrating keeps the momentum going and going and going.