Building strong teams that are focused on collaboration is a key element for success. A team that takes ownership of their contribution and how they work together they will have a strong shared vision and will continuously search for ways to improve. Do not underestimate the importance of building a great team culture.
In studies by the Queens School of Business and by the Gallup Organization, disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects. In organizations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time. Importantly, businesses with highly engaged employees enjoyed 100% more job applications.Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron
Often when people come into leadership roles, the team has already been created. This means you have to adapt your pre-conceived ideas to fit the preferences and abilities of the existing team.
Other times, leaders are given the opportunity to create their own team. This can happen for a variety of reasons, whether you are finding people in different departments or creating an entirely new department.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, this article will explain the nuts and bolts of how great team culture is built and strategies for implementing them in the workplace. Below are 6 ways you can begin building great team culture today.
Create a bigger vision around great team culture
An important part of developing a strong team is having a group of individuals who are focused on a collective effort greater than themselves. A compelling purpose is a key element in building a strong team.
People cannot simply be forced to take part in a team; they need a desire to belong and contribute. So the most important job of any leader is to clearly articulate a vision and how the team will achieve it. The members of the team need to understand how their contribution fits into the bigger picture.
Reinforcing the bigger vision of the team is something that has to be continually reinforced. It cannot be said once and then forgotten; leaders need to find ways to infuse this sense of purpose on an ongoing basis for the continued growth and productivity of the team.
Having a regular meeting that takes place weekly will make a big difference in great team culture. Regular meetings will build rapport, encourage productivity, and bring the importance of improving the team to the forefront.
The meetings should be scheduled in advance and everyone should be familiar with the agenda before the meeting begins. Have clearly defined roles for meetings; for example, one person can lead the meeting, one can act as a timekeeper, and one can take notes on the discussion.
These meetings should focus on discussing problems and coming up with solutions; they should also be an opportunity to build relationships. Be careful not to lose sight of the primary objective of the meeting; don’t allow the discussion to be derailed by other interests or topics that are not on the agenda.
Create leaders, not managers
A great team culture is one that emphasizes mentorship over management. Cultivating leadership will play an important role in establishing the culture of the team.
Communicate clearly with team members so everyone is on the same page. Develop schedules that are designed to offer flexibility so everyone can do their work in the way that is most effective for them, but not so flexible that they become unmanageable.
Teach members of your team how to give constructive feedback that encourages productivity rather than causing shame or embarrassment. Facilitate and participate in improvement efforts alongside your team members.
The best way to teach leadership is through example, so take care to teach your team members clearly and patiently and remember that everyone has something to offer.
Get to know your team
It is important to take the time to get to know the people on your team. It may seem simple, but getting to know your team members will strengthen the team and build a great culture.
This involves doing things like celebrating birthdays, promotions, and holidays with your team. Encourage camaraderie by having occasional potlucks and eating lunch together.
By developing relationships and getting to know your team members, you will begin to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and skills yet to be developed. A great leader understands how to draw out the talent around them. Take the time to learn how to motivate your team to go beyond what is expected of them.
Proactive, constructive feedback is one of the best ways to help your team continue to improve. Don’t over-complicate this process; feedback is often more impactful when it is informal and a natural part of an ongoing dialogue.
No two people are the same and the method for delivering feedback should not be the same for every person either. This is another reason why it is so important to develop relationships with your team members; when the people on your team trust you, they will take your suggestions to heart because they know you have their best interests in mind.
Instead of waiting until a problem occurs and then giving feedback, develop a habit of regularly letting your team members know how they are doing and what areas they could improve. Allow this communication to be a two-way street; take the time to listen as well.
Promote a culture of learning
Promote a culture of learning where every person is encouraged to continue expanding their skill sets. This can be done by providing access to ongoing training and personal development. The expansion of online learning has made this even easier as people can learn on their own time when it best suits them. Offer access to online courses and create opportunities for team members to take on new responsibilities.
Encouraging ongoing learning and goal achievement will help to prevent team members from becoming complacent or bored in their positions. It will also allow them to learn new skills which will add value to the team and workplace as a whole.
When everyone has access to the tools they need to be successful and move forward in their careers, they will be more engaged and will create a stronger work environment. A great team culture is great for business!
A strong team will have a sense of ownership in the planning, problem-solving, and goal-setting for the vision of the team. When a team is focused on the collective vision, they will be better able to fulfill their individual roles.
Developing a great team culture will enable success and attract more talent. It is important to remember that at the heart of every great team are people, so it is necessary to understand the dynamics of how they work.
Treat your team members like they matter and are not simply resources for the company to use. Find ways to foster their self-esteem, ambition, independence, and desire for growth. This will lead to a better understanding of decisions, increased participation in meetings, thoughtful contribution in decision making, and a stronger sense of community.