4 ways to encourage better teamwork in your business

In a teamwork culture, team members work collaboratively to further their team’s objectives, perhaps even placing these objectives ahead of their own individual goals. Organisations where employees work alone or in silos will arguably become less productive over time compared to organisations that encourage teamwork.

The message should come from the top, with your Senior leadership team communicating the clear expectation that teamwork and collaboration are expected. However, there are some key issues which should be dealt with as a team leader or line manager, in order to maintain a positive teamwork culture. We’ve highlighted 4 ways that you can encourage better teamwork, based on both our experience of working with organisations on their employee engagement and leadership development strategies and by looking at trends within the employee surveys that we’ve conducted for our clients.

Leaders are only as good as their teams (and vice versa!)

As a leader or manager, you are setting the tone for the rest of the employees in the workplace and your positive attitude and energy will help to motivate and inspire your team. There is lots of good advice out there on how to be a good team leader but I’ll highlight a couple of issues that often come up in our clients’ survey results.

  1. Try to adopt a coaching approach rather than a ‘do as I do’ attitude, allowing team members to demonstrate what they can do without constant interference. Giving clear instruction without micro-managing will prove to your team members that you believe in their abilities and efforts.
  2. Consistency is key when it comes to managing your team. It’s impossible to build trust amongst your team is there’s perceived favouritism. Make sure team members feel they are treated fairly and equally, and take care not to exclude anyone from group decisions or activities. It seems obvious, but conduct team meetings on a regular basis and allow your team members the opportunity to volunteer or get involved with special projects or tasks.

Encourage open communication

Encouraging a culture of open communication will help develop great teamwork and will undoubtedly have a positive on your team’s overall performance. Communication is often an area which scores poorly in the Employee Surveys we conduct. In our experience, many employees often feel that they aren’t being listened to, whether it’s by their immediate managers or the senior leadership team. Your team should be confident in sharing their ideas, points of view, and feelings and not be afraid of doing so.

Let employees know their contribution is valued by introducing rewards for feedback and suggestions. Encouraging contributions from teams rather than individuals will help get team members working together more closely so make sure you offer rewards for collaborative efforts as much as recognising individual contributions and achievements.

Define and share responsibilities

The more clearly you define your team members’ roles and responsibilities, the more effectively they can meet expectations. The team as a whole, as well as individual team members, must have clearly defined responsibilities and objectives in order to focus their efforts. Your team should be encouraged to recognise each other’s role on the team, helping one another when needed. No one completely owns a work area or process all by themselves. As a manager, make sure your team members have opportunities to cross-train others in the team so that the team’s contribution to the business and service to customers is reliable and consistent. This inspirational quote sums up the point perfectly: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” (Phil Jackson)

Resolve Conflicts

You spend many hours of your life at work, so getting along with your colleagues is very important. Conflict and ‘politics’ amongst team members is a major cause of stress at work. For example, our clients surveys have revealed instances such as team members arguing in public, others giving each other the silent treatment and where one person was left to do all the work while their team members allegedly ‘slacked off’. As a manager or team leader you’ll need to make sure that any tension is resolved as quickly as possible to prevent long-term damage to your team dynamic. Put in place a clear process for employees to raise and resolve issues, so they know they are being listened to, taken seriously and that issues will be dealt with fairly. Teams which include people that do not get along with one another will quickly collapse, become inefficient and unproductive.

 

Team up with INSPIRING…

At INSPIRING, we’ve helped thousands of organisations with Employee Engagement issues over the last 15 years and we’d be happy to share our experience with you. We are also an approved CMI centre providing leadership and management training at different levels with the option of CMI qualifications.

Call us on 0800 612 3098 to find out more or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form.

Things to consider when restructuring your business

Expanding or restructuring your business could mean that you find yourself having to manage some difficult changes. We've put together some of the key points to consider when you’re planning and implementing a restructure from a people aspect.

Restructuring your business inevitably results in having to implement changes within your organisation, which will in turn test the skills of your leaders and managers.

As a leader, you have a responsibility to stay positive, upbeat and focused on the future. You will need to utilise all those coaching and interpersonal skills you’ve learnt along the way to allay any concerns people may have whilst maintaining a grip on the day to day business. In addition, having a management team who possess good people skills and display positive behaviour is crucial to managing change effectively.

John Telfer, Managing Director of Inspiring says “In my experience of working with businesses undergoing change, the thing they often have in common is the problem of Accidental Managers. They are the people that get promoted to management positions because they have the technical skills to do their job brilliantly, but they don’t have the people skills to manage a team effectively.”

Here are some other key points to consider when you’re planning and implementing a restructure from a people aspect:

1. Why is a re-structure being planned? Being clear on the purpose of the exercise is vital as this will be the starting point for of all other planning and implementation activities.

2. Enable clear communications to all those involved and use the purpose to describe what the end result will look like and how associated benefits will help the organisation.

3. Essential to success when re-structuring is to identify any areas of resistance. People get attached to structures just like all other familiar aspects of their organisation – some people may be reluctant to give these up unless the reasons make sense.

4. Inviting people to ask questions and get involved are important elements which if ignored may result in bad compromises and ineffective arrangements as the restructuring unfolds.

5. Ask line managers to keep an eye on their team to spot early signs as to how people are reacting to the changes and whether this is having an impact on their performance.

 

Do your leaders and managers have the right the skills and behaviours and are they working effectively together as a team?

INSPIRING helps develop Inspiring leaders and managers. Our 3-phase approach diagnoses development needs, designs and delivers appropriate training and evaluates the outcomes, allowing you to measure the impact on your business. Our Leadership Development Programmes include an option to work towards a formal management qualification accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

5 New Years Resolutions that will have a positive impact on your business

Most of us will have been thinking about personal new year resolutions in the last week or two, but now we’re all back at work and making plans for 2016, we’ve suggested five new years resolutions for employers that if kept, will have a positive impact on your business this year.

Limit out of hours communications

Just about everyone is contactable all of the time these days. Often it’s hard to ignore those emails and messages when they come in, even if it can wait until Monday morning. As an employer or manager, think about how sending emails out of hours might affect the recipient. If you don’t require an immediate response but just want to tick it off your ‘things to do’ list, consider setting up a time delay or create a draft to send early the next working day instead. Employers who make a point of limiting intrusions into employees’ personal time will have a greater chance of attracting and retaining good employees who want to be able to leave their jobs at the office.

Encourage your people to take time off

Many employees don’t use up all their annual leave entitlement. This may be because a heavy workload makes it difficult for them to take time off, or because their manager or workplace culture implies that taking leave is a problem. Having a positive culture of work-life balance together with happy, refreshed employees is more productive and will prevent stress, so you’ll be more likely to have a stronger, motivated staff in the long run.

Increase your training and development budget

When budgets are cut, it’s often training and development that takes a hit. If this applies to your organisation, it will inevitably impact on the ability of your employees to produce results and stay up to date with industry and business progress if they’re not getting the training and professional development they need. Make 2016 a year in which you invest in your employees and you will receive return on that investment in the long-term.

Look at your reward and recognition policies

If your reward and recognition policy is not perceived to be transparent and/or fair, it won’t attract, retain and engage employees. In particular, research shows that bonus and salary rewards are strongly related to employee attitudes including job satisfaction and intention to move jobs as well as impacting on behaviour such as absenteeism and individual performance. Make a point of examining how perks and benefits are distributed and consider separating pay and performance rewards in peoples’ minds by communicating to your team throughout the year for their good performance and recognising and rewarding them appropriately in the moment.

Tackle performance issues effectively

Leaders and Managers are often tempted to take credit for what their top performers achieve, but the real measure is how they handle people who aren’t performing so well. As a manager, you should measure your own performance by the lowest performer on your team. Many managers are scared of having tough conversations with their team, often through lack of proper management training. Developing people through coaching and creating accountability within your team is crucial to managing a high-performing team.

TEAM UP WITH INSPIRING…

INSPIRING Business Performance provides practical advice, business information tools and training programmes for organisations who want to improve employee engagement, develop their leaders and managers or look at organisational development. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, call us on 0800 612 3098 or get in touch using the enquiry form on the left.