No matter what size a business is, developing good teamwork is essential. Having a team that works as a coherent force helps to improve morale and has a positive impact on productivity. This leads to the business being more successful overall.
So, we have established that effective teamwork is vital to the survival and growth of any business. The problem is that great teamwork very rarely just happens. Work needs to be done in order to ensure that a workforce comes together as a team. What does this work involve?
Making an office space conducive to good teamwork
In order for people to work well as a team, they need to have the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively. This means that an office space needs to be designed with this in mind. In modern offices, this does not necessarily mean the standard set-up of rows and rows of desks, with everyone having an allocated seat to sit at. The landscape of the office is changing.
As the office search experts at Cornerstone say, “Trends from the 80s with rows of private cubicles have been swapped for open plan layouts for all teams to collaborate”. This type of open plan, dynamic layout makes it easier for teams to work together, and for people to move around within the office, when collaboration requires them to.
Read up on creating an ideal working environment here.
Taking the lead
Good teamwork starts with a good leader. No team is going to work effectively if the individuals feel as though the leader expects them to act in a certain way, while they act as they please. Leaders have to show an example and communicate with their team in an open, supportive and constructive manner.
They also need to trust individuals to do their job, without interference. Micro-management is not a good idea as it leads to people feeling stifled and reduces the opportunity for creativity, which is an essential aspect of good teamwork.
Encouraging open and effective communication
Good communication is pivotal to good teamwork. If people are not able to communicate with each other, they are unlikely to be able to work together effectively. Leaders need to encourage good communication by being open themselves. It also helps to have a communications policy in place, so that everyone knows what is expected.
Regular meetings and feedback sessions are an important aspect of communication within an office. They provide an opportunity to discuss projects and air any questions or issues. They also provide an opportunity for all members of a team to simply get together and talk, thereby promoting better relationships within the team.
It helps to change location for meetings and team events, so that the process remains fresh and inspiring. Meetings can also be combined with social activity, so that the team experiences communication in both a business and social manner.
Being clear about where people fit
Any good team needs to have clarity about the roles of the individuals within it. If roles are not clearly defined, people can end up getting in each other’s way. This can be a source of conflict, which has a detrimental effect on teamwork. Every member of a team should have a job framework in place, and set goals to achieve. These frameworks and goals should be designed so that the team works harmoniously and roles are supportive, avoiding any potential clashes.
No-one wants to spend all of their time with people they work with, but having some social interaction, outside of the workplace, helps to promote good teamwork. Members of the team learn more about each other, which helps them to communicate and collaborate more effectively when they are in the workplace. Social time does not have to be anything elaborate. It can be something as simple as going for a coffee after work.
Any business benefits from great teamwork. In order to achieve this, promoting teamwork needs to be at the centre of all aspects of the business, from the layout of the office space to the communications policy. In order to establish good team working relationships, leaders need to lead by example. They need to behave as they want team members to behave. It’s also important to develop a level of understanding between members of the team. Encouraging social interaction outside of the office helps to make this happen. Team members do not have to be great friends but they do need to respect one another and be able to communicate in an open manner.