In order for any organization to grow and succeed, its members must work together toward a common goal. This is why teamwork is so important — it allows everyone to share ideas, responsibilities, and efforts to accomplish feats and overcome challenges that would normally be too great for one person.
Unfortunately, teamwork isn’t something that just happens. Just because you’ve put different people together in one group doesn’t mean they’ll automatically start cooperating and collaborating harmoniously. Teamwork needs work, and these steps might just be what you need to spark and develop team spirit among your employees.
Get leaders involved
Sometimes the problem isn’t that employees don’t want to work together, but that they understand the company’s goals differently. As a result, they work toward outcomes that diverge from the company’s goals. As your organization’s higher-ups are in charge of goal-setting and strategizing, make sure they are involved in internal communication planning. Their task is to point everyone in the right direction by clarifying the objectives and priorities that need to be achieved.
Communication is key to understanding one another, which is crucial for teamwork. See if there are any hurdles to your staff’s ability to communicate with each other and address these. For instance, if you find that simply emailing isn’t enough, use real-time messaging apps like Slack instead. Furthermore, make sure communication in your company is multi-directional. That is, communication channels must connect people from various departments and the different levels of the organizational hierarchy.
Learn to listen
Voicing out opinions helps foster understanding and collaboration, but not everyone is always courageous enough to speak up voluntarily. During meetings, encourage everyone to share their thoughts. You may even call on employees whom you think have not had enough opportunity to get themselves heard. Another method you can try is to create a place — physical or digital — where people can leave suggestions or answer questions anonymously. Finally, lead by example and make the effort to hear your employees out and everyone will be encouraged to do the same.
If employees don’t clearly understand their roles, they’ll have difficulty understanding how they fit in the bigger picture. They might even end up in conflicts with their co-workers, leading to delayed and low-quality outcomes. Document the scope of each job position’s responsibilities, preferably in a location everyone has access to, such as your company’s knowledge base, for easy reference.
In many cases, micro-management only leads to managers and subordinates resenting one another. Instead of pestering your team members to work together, give them the autonomy to finish their deadlines and address conflicts and issues on their own. This will give them a better understanding of their own and their colleagues’ abilities. Give your staff enough space and time to develop teamwork by themselves and intervene mostly to point them in the right direction.
Hire the right people
It’s important that you hire people with the right skills and experience for the job. But it’s also equally crucial that the person you hire can work seamlessly and harmoniously with your existing employees. During the selection process, take into account how suited candidates are to your company’s culture. If you can, get the department that the candidate will be working with involved in the hiring process as well.
Invest in collaboration solutions
You can turn to technology for help in developing teamwork. As mentioned above, you can invest in messaging apps to facilitate real-time communication among team members. Such solutions are crucial for catching up on tasks and sharing ideas and information for projects. To keep everyone abreast with their co-workers’ progress on their respective tasks, invest in project management tools like Trello and Basecamp. If you haven’t already, adopt cloud-based solutions like Sharepoint which enable multiple users to collaborate on documents at the same time.
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