Having a cohesive team that works together to perform to its peak doesn’t just happen. It takes a dedicated and committed effort to build a culture around teamwork, positivity, and ongoing development.
This needs to be driven by the managers, and all managers should keep the following strategies in mind as they look to build that positive, winning team culture.
1) Always drive towards a goal
Your team should always be working towards something specific. Nothing brings a team together and gets them working well together than having a shared and defined goal to arrive at in the end. Make sure that team meetings continue to drive home that mission, so that no one loses sight of the end game and gets distracted and bogged down by day-to-day routine, because if that happens, the project might well stagnate.
2) Make sure the team has the best mix of people
You don’t just need the best people on your team. You need the best mix of skills that work well together so that the team can be greater than the sum of its parts. Choose new team members that will, firstly, fit with the culture of the organization that you’re aiming for, but also have skills that complement one another well. It’s also a good idea to have a mixture of youthful energy and veteran expertise so that you can maximise the knowledge transfer across the entire group.
3) Make sure people feel comfortable in communicating
Part of the team culture should include an open feedback loop, where each person on the team can feel comfortable in communicating constructively with both their peers and reports. It’s important that constructive feedback is welcomed, because it will also encourage each member on the team to think creatively in coming up with new ideas, solving problems, and working through challenges.
4) Make the team about more than work
Encourage social activities for the team! Having team lunches, team bonding activities, and nights out together helps build relationships outside of work, and that in turn deepens trust and encourages team members to naturally want to collaborate more closely with one another. It also introduces a natural desire to work hard into the group, as no one will want to let their team down if they happen to like their team.
5) Make sure people know they have the ability to grow
Make sure your organization provides team members with the ability to grow their skill base – whether that be through one-on-one coaching or mentorship, training courses, seminars, or team building exercises. In addition to benefitting from the additional skills in the group, you’ll keep the employees keen as they feel like they’re building on their careers at the same time.
6) Let employees know it’s okay to make mistakes
A positive team is one that allows for mistakes to be made. If people aren’t worried about losing their jobs, they’ll be more willing to stretch their limits and take risks. That means that mistakes will be made, but building a culture where accountability doesn’t mean punishment is critical in getting the positive results from a highly motivated team daring to think creatively.
7) Lead from the front
If you’re hardworking, reliable and accountable, then your team will be as well. Teams respond better when their leaders set the tone; when the managers are enthusiastic and excited, and are turning up first to work and are the last to leave. You don’t want to set an example of overworking, but you do want to be a genuine role model for the behavior of your employees, and they will then mirror it in their own performance.