Good teamwork in the workplace can lead to increased productivity, higher morale and a fulfilled, loyal workforce. Managers can promote good teamwork among staff members by identifying strengths, setting goals and defining objectives and measurable outcomes. They can also play a role in overseeing progress, providing feedback and rewarding team and individual successes. Depending on the size of your business, you may have several managers, or you may be managing the team yourself.
A manager who knows and understands the different strengths and abilities of his employees can build teams that work well together. Learn about the professional traits of your employees and create work groups in which members complement one another. Assign tasks as appropriate and identify and define leadership roles within the group.
Teams function best when they have clearly defined objectives, strategies and deadlines. Include team members in planning sessions to ensure everyone is comfortable with the approach and feels goals are achievable within defined parameters. Make sure everyone is on the same page about who will handle various project aspects and how disputes and disagreements will be addressed. The more preplanning done before a team project, the more likely a positive outcome.
Teamwork can be hampered when there is breakdown in communication between team members, or between employees and their manager. Hold regular meetings and solicit progress reports and updates to ensure everyone is operating from the same set of expectations. Don’t let problems fester or get blown out of proportion; instead, address issues and concerns as they arise and include the entire team in finding workable solutions.
Ensure your team members have equitable workloads in line with their personal and professional abilities. Saddling one employee with more work than others can create hard feelings and lead to inter-team conflict. Hold all employees equally accountable for their shares of a project. Extending deadlines or making allowances for one employee but not another can lead to resentment.
If one member of a team is having a hard time fulfilling her responsibilities or feels she is not in sync with her colleagues, it can be difficult to address in front of the entire group. Make provisions for employees who need to bring individual concerns to your attention. Help the employee devise solutions to her problems or make other accommodations to replace her on the team, if necessary.
Acknowledge the contributions of all team members at a projects’ completion. If appropriate, single out exceptional performers while still attributing overall success to the team as a single unit. This not only recognizes a job well done, but it creates the foundation for future successful team projects and provides extra incentive for strong team players.