Great teamwork is scarce and is unarguably among the most difficult things to achieve. If you are researching how to build teamwork among your employees, it is probable that you have fallen over the same shallow strategies to improve teamwork over and over again.
Collaboration tools, good communication or teamwork exercise cannot strengthen teamwork if you have not created the foundation. In this blog, we will give you three proven strategies to help you build teamwork at your workplace.
Create an environment of trust
Unfortunately, trust is a word that has lost its original meaning. People use it so often that when we hear the word trust, we don’t perceive its true meaning. When we talk about trust among team members, it is the confidence that every employee has in other employees.
Today, most managers have a different definition of trust. When we asked managers how would you define trust at your workplace, most of them answered it is based on how a team member behaved in the past. If he delivered high-quality work on time, I can trust him that he will do that in the future too. But this is called consistency — not trust.
But how do you know if you have an environment of trust at your workplace or among a specific team? When there is an environment of trust, employees don’t feel the need of being protective or being careful. They know that they can be vulnerable and this vulnerability won’t be used against them.
The vulnerabilities we talked about are the skill deficiencies, weaknesses and shortcomings that each person has. Some of your employees are short-tempered, some are timid, some are less creative. When your employees know that it is okay to have weaknesses and shortcomings while they improve themselves, all of their energy will be utilized on tasks that matter. Not on redundant things like politics or staying careful. They will admit their weaknesses and mistakes. They will ask for help when they feel they need help and won’t hang back from providing constructive feedback.
When teams lack trust, they fear having debates and calling out their peers on their mistakes which is the biggest drawback any team can have. When you have created an environment of trust, your employees don’t fear having passionate debates and constructive conflicts. These teams can come up with amazing solutions in no time.
Today, most teams avoid having debates at the workplace. They fear that they might upset their peer. However, this non-assertive behavior gives birth to resentment which grows in the heart of the other person due to lack of confrontations and conflicts.
When your teams can carry out passionate debates without the fear of upsetting the other person, the meetings are not boring anymore. Politics reduces. Even people who are not creative can provide valuable solutions. And, no energy is wasted trying to be protective and careful!
Make them decisive and don’t seek consensus
Being decisive is another thing that is essential for great teamwork. Bad teams wait until things get certain and they get enough data to make a decision. On the other hand, great teams have the advantage of getting buy-in from each team members even when things are uncertain.
When it comes to making a decision. Your employees should be bold, even if they are wrong. Then, later on, they can change direction with the same boldness when they find out that they are going in the wrong direction. Bad teams lose a lot of opportunities as they keep on delaying important decisions. Some people think it’s prudent to make decisions when things are certain. However, when we talk about teams, it shows insecurity and lack of confidence.
Seeking consensus every time you go to make a decision is dangerous. People at your workplace come from different backgrounds and have different experiences. It is not possible that you all agree on the same thing every time. So, it is okay if some members disagree. You can still make the decision knowing that some members are not agreeing. However, it is essential that you get complete buy-in all from all team members including those who disagreed.
Teach them to hold each other accountable
Great teams have members who can hold each other accountable. Earlier in this blog, we talked about trust. If you have established an environment of trust at your workplace, it is less difficult for your employees to call on their peers for underperformance or bad behavior.
When it comes to holding each other accountable, people think that their relationship will be jeopardized if they call each other out. Also, employees feel discomfort when confronting others. Great team members are able to withstand the discomfort and carry out difficult conversations.
When members don’t hold each other accountable, they allow resentment to grow in their hearts. Mediocrity becomes practice. And, deadlines are missed
By practicing these tips consciously, you can achieve great teamwork at your workplace. One thing to consider here is that you can never create an environment of trust overnight. Your executives will an important role in building a positive environment. So, provide interpersonal training to your executives. If you are hiring executives, hire those who know the importance of communication and trust. We recommend you source executive hiring to a company such as ecap, which provides executive search and board advisory services.