Ever worked in a team of individuals who brought out the best in you and inspired you to work toward your shared goals? If so, chances are you know the power of effective teamwork. Encouraging teamwork in the workplace helps keep employees engaged and passionate about their projects, from the daily tasks to the large-scale responsibilities.
How can you achieve effective teamwork in your own small business? Here are some of our top tips.
1. Be respectful
When getting work done with your team, respect is key. People feel more comfortable, are more likely to share their experiences, and tend to trust the process more. Being respectful should be your top priority whenever interacting with your employees, no matter if you’re delivering feedback, asking for input, or announcing a change.
2. Take work seriously
There’s no harm in keeping things lighthearted, but your conversations with the team should ultimately keep your work top of mind. At the end of the day, you are discussing serious topics with customers, partners, or other stakeholders involved, so you should value the effort it takes to complete work projects. Don’t forget to measure employee performance against your chosen benchmarks and work toward making continual improvements.
3. Be bound by similar values
If everyone’s not working toward the same goal, your priorities won’t be aligned. That means that the projects you value most might not be at the top of your employees’ to-do lists. To avoid situations like these, take time to emphasize your company’s mission, its values, and its strategy to achieve them.
4. Provide strong and reliable leadership
Inspiring leadership means leading by example—this means following through on promises, providing guidance, and trusting your employees to fulfill their responsibilities. Finding the right balance between a completely hands-off approach and one that borders on micromanagement is tricky and takes time. That’s why putting regular evaluations in place can help you make adjustments and continue to improve over time.
5. Encourage the ability to adapt
No matter how structured your organization is, your team should be flexible and quick on its feet. Showing initiative to take on different tasks, including those that are beyond your own job description, is a great indicator of strong team-first mentality, which is a win not only for your employees’ professional development, but for your company as a whole.
6. Use effective communication
Don’t let strong communication become an afterthought—instead, focus on promoting productive dialogue among the team. It can make a world of difference when you schedule regular check-in meetings, calls, or even emails. Staying on the same page is essential, and what better way to do that than by opening your lines of communication?
7. Promote efficient team meetings
On one hand, meetings can be an extremely successful method for encouraging collaboration and productivity. On the other, there’s a clear difference between an effective and an ineffective meeting. If done right, everyone on the team should walk out of the room feeling confident, motivated, and ready to get to work on their assigned tasks.
8. Practice conflict management
Even if your team checks off all the boxes, conflict can still arise between co-workers or teams. It might be a difference in opinion, perspective, or even workflow. To deal with these situations, you should implement a solid conflict management process and follow through as soon as possible after they arise. Being a reliable, trustworthy, and skilled team leader means showing compassion for your employees and being willing to listen when they voice any concerns or suggestions.
9. Set clear goals and team objectives
As a group, your team should agree on common goals for the long term, but also for just this week, month, or quarter. Breaking larger projects down into actionable tasks, delegating them to the right people, and having a central progress tracker can help everyone see where the whole team stands.
10. Create transparency
Transparency shouldn’t just come from the top: team members at all levels of the organization should feel comfortable getting to know each other on more than a simply professional level. Teamwork is built on mutual trust and understanding, which comes naturally through everyday conversations, running jokes, and common interests. In a tightknit team, employees are more likely to ask questions, make suggestions, and feel that they’re making a lasting impact on the company’s growth. That’s how you build and establish company pride.
11. Recognize accomplishments
One of the strongest drivers of productivity is genuine recognition for a job well done. Don’t forget to thank your employees for their hard work—from a quick shoutout on a company-wide email to a custom-made gift. Celebrating team efforts is just as important. If everyone’s working toward a shared goal, each individual victory is made possible by the entire group.
Looking for creative ways to say “thank you” to your team members? Check out our list of 15 original employee recognition ideas on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog.