No man (or woman) is an island. While it’s true that you may have individuals in your employ who are rock stars in their own right, it’s also true that the business of business gets done thanks to concerted, cooperative effort. One way or another, that means teams, and if your company’s culture isn’t geared toward fostering teamwork, then you simply won’t be as successful as you could be.
The question, then, is how do you structure your company…how do you make changes to your company’s culture such that you encourage the growth and strengthening of teams? While there’s no one “magic bullet” that will completely answer the question, there are a number of things you can do. Here are a few of them, for your consideration:
Encourage Risk Taking
The simple truth is that your management team isn’t going to and can’t possibly think of everything. The next great idea is just as likely to come from one of your rank and file employees. The problem is, if it’s considered a faux pas for non-managers to bring an idea to the table, then few of your employees are going to risk doing so, for fear of being ignored, humiliated, or called out for daring to breach company protocol.
This is an easy problem to fix, and it starts with your management team. Simply encourage them to encourage anyone to bring new ideas to the attention of the team, without repercussions. The only bad idea is the one that never gets brought up at all, and good ideas, wherever they come from deserve attention, and the people who bring them up deserve recognition for doing so.
Limit Your Priorities
This is another easy fix. Too often, managers confuse the issue and detract from collective effort by trying to define too many priorities at once. Instead of focusing on a dozen different priorities which pull your team in too many different directions, pick three.
Three clearly defined, measurable goals, and have your team focus on just those. If you’ve got more priorities than that, then pick three more and form a second team.
Here, it’s not just a matter of focus, but better communication and organization. If everybody on a given team knows that they’ve got just two or three things to focus on, then everyone is going to spend the greater bulk of their time, energy and effort chasing those goals. If your goals are clearly defined and are accompanied by metrics and deliverables, then you’re going to achieve them that much more quickly.
Public Praise, Private Course Corrections
Even the most introverted of your employees deserve recognition for hitting important milestones, or for playing a pivotal role in helping the team hit them, so don’t pass up any opportunity to sing the praises of individuals on a team, or of the team as a whole.
It’s especially important not to overlook star performers who could succeed on their own, but instead, make the conscious effort to spend their time helping other members of the team succeed.
Just as important as these things though, it’s also important that if anyone falters, goes off track, or needs a course correction, that those things are done in private. One very important thing to mention here though, is you don’t want all of your one-on-one, Manger-and-employee meetings to be negative, so be sure to meet with your employees on a regular basis, just to check in. That way, such meetings are not seen as events to dread, but are just a normal part of the functioning of the team.
There are plenty of others, but if you start implementing these three simple changes today, you’ll see your company’s overall productivity soar, and you’ll go a long way toward creating an environment in which teams just work better, more efficiently, and more effectively.