Teamwork is the cornerstone of creativity, innovation, and problem solving. While one person might be limited by the constraints of their own experience or mode of thinking, a whole group of team members working in conjunction can come up with and implement far more solutions to the problem at hand.
On a more qualitative scale, team building is crucial to maximizing employee satisfaction and engagement. Employees who have positive relationships with their coworkers and feel like they are contributing to a greater whole tend to be happier – and employees who are happier tend to be more productive. This is true of both a business in general and smaller work teams created for the purpose of taking on specific projects.
That said, putting together a work team isn’t as simple as throwing a few employees together and telling them to get to work. A poorly constructed team can lead to interpersonal conflict, unclear objectives, and decreased productivity. Looking to build work teams that achieve goals rather than hamper your success? These tips can help.
Tips for Team Building:
- Define your expectations. Teams perform best with clear guidelines and expectations. Make sure that your team members know the purpose of the team, why they were chosen, and finer details such as how much time they have to complete the task and whether there is a chosen leader of the group.
- Value diversity. If everyone on the team shares the same perspective, they’ll be less likely to generate innovative solutions. Choose team members with a variety of backgrounds and skills to maximize the potential for creativity.
- Be aware of how team members work. Different people process information in a variety of ways, which can either complement each other or clash in a team setting. One person who thinks out loud may be seen as an annoyance in a team made up entirely of people who generally have a fully developed plan before they speak, whereas a quieter member’s input might get lost in a more assertive group. Know employees’ strengths and weaknesses so that you can best match them.
- Don’t over-complicate. The old adage “too many cooks spoil the soup” can apply in team settings. Understand which tasks are best suited to teams, and what size team can best accomplish it. Keep an eye out for teams that seem to be going in circles instead of forward.
- Evaluate and provide feedback. Just like individuals, teams can benefit from an outside observer, and leaders can improve team-building skills from seeing what works and what doesn’t. After every project involving work teams, spend time evaluating what could be improved.
Great work teams not only perform better on individual tasks, but they can also foster positive relationships between coworkers and help individual employees hone their skills, gain leadership experience, and improve communication. What can you do to improve your team building skills?