Team Building: How to Improve Your Employees’ Ability to Work Together as a Team
“Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek
As a business owner, it is vital for you to ensure that you and your employees can work towards a common goal. Your staff is your company’s most valuable resource, and they are one of the main drivers of your business vision, mission, and goals. However, people often become frustrated, and they can battle to work together in a team.
Consequently, the question is how do you, as a leader, keep your staff motivated and enthusiastic about working together towards a common goal? In short, the answer is team building.
Team building: What, how, and why?
Before we look at the team building skills that are required to improve your staff’s ability to work together, let’s look at what the definition of team building is:
Susan Heathfield of TheBalance.com defines team building as the “process of turning a group of individual employees into a cohesive team, a group of people organized to work together interdependently and cooperatively to meet the needs of their customers by accomplishing their purpose and goals.”
Additionally, Bruce Tuckman determined that there are five main stages of team building: Searching, Defining, Identifying, Processing, Assimilating/Reforming. In other words, each team has to go through these five stages before they can truly work together as a team.
Now that we understand the concept of team building, let’s have a look at how to utilize this process to enhance your staff’s ability to work together with each other.
The process of team building
At the onset, it can be helpful to designate a team building manager or hire a consultant to spearhead your efforts (and to avoid any disastrous results).
In this stage, team members will meet to form a clear understanding of what each person’s role in the team is. Members agree on common goals, decide how these goals are broken down into actions, and then role players are assigned to complete each action.
The individual expression of ideas is both a blessing and a curse in a team. At this stage, team members sometimes compete to be the controlling member of the team. It becomes crucial that the team has a clear leader. Leadership style and decision-making methodologies are discussed at this point. Once a leader has been elected, he or she will guide the team towards working together and exercising tolerance and patience with each other.
Working together as a team
During this phase, under the guidance of an effective leader, the team develops good working habits and a strong work ethic. They work through their predetermined communication methods. Conflict resolution techniques are taught, and all members of the team participate in working together as a professional team.
The team continues to collaborate as a highly-effective and functional unit. They share knowledge with each other, and they trust that all of the team members are continuing to work together for the common good of the team. The team leader’s role changes during this phase, becoming more of a facilitator and mentor rather than a decisive leader.
Finalization of project/team
It is important that the team celebrates its success once the project has come to an end. Should a team work together daily and not towards a finite end date, the team will continue to grow together and function more efficiently as a team.