Getting your team to work well together is not only critical for performance and achieving or exceeding your goals and targets, but also makes work so much more enjoyable. A little bit like parenting, just when we think we have it all figured out something unexpected happens to throw things off balance or into a complete spin. There are some practical ways to help your team work better together and continue to do so even when faced with challenges and change, writes Amalia Chilianis, author of Work-a-holistic.
Try these four steps to get everyone working together
1. What’s your team’smotivation?
Psychologists have shown that three factors best facilitate and enable motivation; they are autonomy (i.e., having some control over a situation), a sense of belonging and feeling competent (having the skills and knowledge to do the work). When you’re having career discussions with your team members make sure each individual has some autonomy over their work, feels like a valued part of the team and understands how their role contributes to the business and team performance. This clarity, understanding and sense of belonging provides a solid foundation for them to work well with others.
2. What are our team values?
Every person holds a set of values that are guiding principles of what is most important to us in our life. What is helpful with values is not that people have them (because everybody does), but the priority order of importance that they place on them and that they drive their behaviour. If you have a potential conflict within your team, or some who just don’t work well together, it could be a clash of values. For example, one person may highly value achievement and get through the work quickly, whereas another highly values professionalism and would rather take more time with less errors and produce something of higher quality. Both are honourable values, which sometimes can clash. I’d recommend undertaking a values exercise as part of a team meeting. Building this level of understanding of what drives their teammate’s decisions and behaviours, will definitely help them work better together.
3. What are our strengths?
Research has substantiated a number of benefits for people who regularly use their strengths. These include experiencing more happiness, confidence, energy and vitality, resilience, work performance, high engagement and enjoyment from their work. Strengths are things people are good at, they find energising and are drawn to activities that use them. Make sure each team member uses and develops their strengths and is aware of the strengths of their teammates. Encouraging team members to leverage colleagues strengths, and help each other to grow and develop will enable the team to better work together and deliver benefits to both the employees and the business.
What is our team purpose?
Purpose and knowing your “why” has been a popular topic for some time now with, “purpose” defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” Purpose includes goals, values, aspirations and objectives. It’s a great idea to collaborate with your team and develop a team purpose. Facilitate a discussion and use questions like, Why do we get out of bed to do this work?, What impact or contribution do we hope to have?, Why do we want to make that impact or contribution? Helping your team articulate their purpose or their “why” sustains their motivation, provides clarity and also helps them work more cohesively together.
When your team works well together, it can be incredibly satisfying and rewarding and brings great benefits to the employees and the business. Enabling and improving that for others is both a responsibility and a gift. As their leader if you set the foundation for motivation, understand each other’s values, ensure your team uses and develop their strengths together, and create a compelling team purpose then you will have a high performing team who not only works well together but you will also make a positive contribution to your people and your business.
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