Did you know that the strength of an entire organization’s culture is only as strong as its individual teams? An employee’s experience working for a company is either great – or not so great – based on the team to which they belong.
Most leaders and managers say that teamwork is important, but we rarely see organizations actually invest the time, discipline and activities it takes to build strong teamwork.
Strong teamwork is built on trust. Trust is the foundation of all relationships. Trust can be built quickly with the right activities, but it does have to be maintained. Maintenance is necessary with new teammates as well as with long time team members. Trust can increase the speed of business and open up lines of communication. Here are a few ways you can build trust in your team and organization.
- Conduct a personality or strength profile on each team member. Share feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s styles. Here are two of our favorites: colorcode.com & www.gallupstrengthssenter.com
- Share feedback with each other. Sharing feedback is much easier when there is a trusting relationship, but sharing feedback also builds trust. Provide proactive and facilitated sessions where peers can give honest feedback around behaviors that help and hurt the team.
- Create tension and vulnerability. What builds trust is being vulnerable with each other. The paradox of vulnerability states that “it’s the first thing we want to see in you. But it’s the last thing we want others to see in us.” In a competitive world where mistakes can mean a loss of reputation or even money, most of us are afraid to say we don’t know something, we made a mistake or we aren’t good at something. Providing an open forum where people can admit mistakes, apologize freely and learn valuable lessons not only makes your business stronger, it makes your team stronger.
- Have fun, socialize and let loose. This is more then just a happy hour. This is about truly allowing your folks to unwind, have fun, get to know each other outside of work and see a different side of each other. It also creates an opportunity for celebration and recognition.
- Hold fun and healthy competitions. Think fun adult Olympics, relays, or “Minute to Win It” games. There is something about bringing out the fun side of competition and creating mini teams within teams. Being silly together is also a way to be vulnerable. Trying things you have never done before also creates healthy tension. (See our link below of our favorite teambuilding ideas)
6. Hold rapid assimilation or town halls. Employees like to feel “in” on things. No matter how much we share, it’s probably never enough. Allowing your team to ask lots of questions about anything and everything creates transparency. Talking straight about what is really going on in any aspect of the team, department or organization increases trust tremendously.
- Create a rally cry and mission together. Nothing brings a group together more than a passionate team rallying around a common goal. Does your team have a mission statement? Do you have a common goal that you are all working toward? One that can be team-focused and measurable? If not, you’re missing out on a big opportunity for strong teamwork.
- Set ground rules. Even if your company has a set of core values, it’s imperative that each team have their own set of standards or specific behaviors that define your company values. Allow your folks to create working agreements around how they expect each other to show up and interact. Put in writing what mindset you all should have and how you should approach work and challenges. Don’t assume your team knows what you expect or what they expect of each other. Creating clarity not only sets expectations, doing it together creates trust and engagement.
- Learn together. Going through any type of training together creates bonds because the team is learning new concepts together. Whether it’s technical and has to do with the line of business you are in or leadership and communication skills, the common lingo creates cohesion back at the office.
- Run better meetings. Strong teams are proud of the fact they can go into a meeting that is well run, discuss and debate critical issues and then make decisions. Strong teams are 100% committed to the decisions made in a meeting. They always put their peer team first even if a decision doesn’t favor one person well over another. This is the truest essence of teamwork.
Strong relationships don’t just happen. You have to be an activator. Strong families don’t just happen. You have to be disciplined. Strong teams don’t just happen. You have to be committed and take the time and energy to invest in those activities that will make the biggest difference in your success.
- 16 Oct, 2016
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