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How to Get a Team to Work Together

Posted by Eric Friedman

team work together

Working in teams can be both beneficial and challenging at the same time. Sharing work can be less than ideal if the team members don’t work well together. In most team settings, you’ll have a leader and one or two other people who share the workload for the entire team. This can lead to pent-up feelings of resentment on the part of the worker bees, and sometimes the other team members can feel left out. Teams that work well together can greatly increase workplace productivity and creates a more cohesive company culture. Here are seven tips that will help your company’s teams work well together.

Communicate. Obviously, this is one of the most important elements to a strong team performance. Keeping the communication clear, open, honest, and respectful will allow team members to express their feelings in a way that prevents a buildup of hidden anger or distrust. Encourage team members to ask questions and listen to one another. This helps to build better team dynamics and stronger relationships.

Respect individuality. When working with teams, it’s important for superiors and managers to understand the importance of individuality. When a group of people with all different skills and personalities are put together to accomplish a certain task, understanding what each team member brings to the table is critical. Each team member needs to contribute his or her strengths in order for the team to function as one.

Encourage creativity. Creative input should be encouraged from every team member on every project. Negative comments such as,”what a dumb idea” should be discouraged, and a supportive environment that is open to new ideas should be cultivated.  Brainstorming should be seen as a time to throw ideas out without placing judgement. The best ideas can be culled out later.

Include a mix of genders. This might seem like a strange tip for creating a great team, but women’s social skill tend to be a little stronger than men’s. Including women is one way of prioritizing social skills, which have a direct impact on team performance. Studies have shown that companies with female board members have better share price performance than those who are men-only.

Hold trust-building exercises. One way to enhance team spirit is to set aside time for trust-building exercises. If trust and support are seen as an important part of company culture, they are more likely to grow.  And teams that appear more trustworthy have been shown to perform better then those who lack trust. Trust is a reciprocal feeling and one bad apple can really spoil the bunch.

Define roles. The recent Occupy Wall Street political movement was seen as unsuccessful because no real leaders emerged. A key idea behind the movement when it was first formed was that no one would lead and everyone would all work on the same level. While this democratic approach was laudable, it created confusion and zero teamwork, since no one was there to lead. Effective teams require clearly-defined roles so that everyone knows what he or she is responsible for. This creates better team cohesion and productivity.

Don’t settle. The last piece of advice deals with how you staff your team. Know what you want in terms of team members, and keep looking until you find the candidates that are a perfect fit. If one person is wrong for the job, it can throw off the entire team dynamic.

Managing teams of individuals with different kinds of personalities and skills can be challenging, but following these tips will help you make the most of the teams you have, and will help even more in setting up future teams for your company.

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About Eric Friedman

Author

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business, and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how best to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.

8 COMMENTS Join the discussion
  • Molly Smith September, 23, 2013

    I think the best way to make people work as a team is to make them see that it’s for their benefit to accomplish the task quickly and successfully and persuade them that not a single one of them is able to it on their own.

  • Jared September, 24, 2013

    One of the most effective ways of turning your staff into a team is making them share their preferred way of dealing with work things. For example, if someone prefers to have time to think about a topic rather than be expected to share opinions on it immediately encourage them to declare that preference. Some people get annoyed when people don’t speak up at meetings when it just may be the person’s preference to think things through.

  • Tina September, 25, 2013

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t expect people who used to work individually to become a team at a short notice. Team building isn’t an event; it’s a process.It may be easier for a group of people to pull together for a few weeks, but that doesn’t make a group a team. 

  • Stanley Wilden September, 26, 2013

    Teamwork has different meaning for different people. For someone it’s going against one’s nature and swallowing one’s pride; whilst some people really benefit from cooperation and grow as professionals. No matter what’s the outcome for the employee, team work usually positively affects the result of the given task.

  • Evelyn October, 03, 2013

    I believe that “team building” will work if your “leader” is a worker bee as well. Someone that is “right there with you”. A manager/supervisor should understand the needs of their employees as individuals that each one has a different skill set, educational and cultural background. One must find a way to incorporate and create a positive environment for all to flourish – then you will have a “good team”. There will always be small obstacles to overcome because we are all imperfect.

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