It's a no brainer that to do good work, you not only need the right resources, but you also need to work with the right people. Teamwork is a value often repeated, even when we were in kindergarten. From playing tug-of-war, your school's choir team, middle school baseball team, university debate team, to even the corporate life you're in, everything is better when there's teamwork. Everyone puts in their share of effort, ideas, and expertise to pull off a shared vision.
While we all know how important teamwork is, sometimes, there will be moments when members of the team lose motivation, some lose the drive to participate, some are stuck with ideas, while some aren't the willing participants they were previously.
We all get into an emotional and mental rut at times that creates a blockage preventing us from participating actively in the conversations and discussions. Yes, it does take the experience to stay focused on our tasks at hand, but sometimes, teamwork can crack.
When you’re working remotely and working from home, it can be especially difficult to maintain teamwork and cohesion. What do you do to help your team or your employees navigate the momentary loss of focus and productivity? How do you help them stay focused on the bigger picture?
Teamwork needs work. Nothing magically happens without putting in some respect, values, and even rules. Here are some ways you can keep encouraging your team to work together and become a high-functioning team.
Share the company vision.
In that same thought, share your vision for your team. Whether you're a Head of Department or a team leader, sharing both the company vision and your vision for the team is essential for each individual's growth and for them to understand their role in it. When everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities, they'll know how important their functions are to make the vision come true. Your vision for the team should be in line with the overall company vision, plus a little bit more. Be as transparent as you can when communicating your true goals and vision and what you hope for each of them.
Make their tasks known and your visions clear, so that they can know where and how to look for guidance and inspiration to continue their tasks.
Set goals based on a team level.
Company goals and team goals need to be aligned, but they don't have to be the same at each level. If the company goal is to achieve a 50% sales target, the team level goal varies based on the responsibilities of each team. For instance, if your team is in charge of customer service, your team level goals are different than that of the finance team. The finance team's goals could be time-based, but your team's goals could be customer feedback. Again, it's extremely important for each team member to understand what goals they are working on hitting, and this is crucial simply because it provides accountability. When everyone knows what each member is supposed to do, it creates a clearer picture of how each member contributes to the success of another team member’s goals. Accountability also reduces the possibility of an employee working in silo.
Clarifying everyone’s roles
Clarity helps when there are several people in a team working toward a specific goal. It's important anywhere. When there's clarity, the message is communicated in a better way. Teamwork isn't easy, especially when you have a diverse group of people, all with different expertise and talents. Imagine how much harder it will be when no one understands how someone else's role contributes to the overall picture. As a team leader, make sure your team members know who's in charge of what, what's the SOP, the line of delegation, and reporting. It's all an essential part of a well-functioning team.
Outlining team goals and outlining how each person in the team is contributing to that goal ensure long-term and sustainable productivity. Reiterate this information in a meeting, a one-on-one talk, or a group discussion. This point needs to be reevaluated at every step of the milestone journey.
Share whatever information you can.
Spoken to higher management? Gained better insight into your milestones and team goals? Communicate this to your team. When we speak to our bosses or directors, basically anyone from higher management, we receive a much wider picture of the company's goings-on. Where possible and where useful, communicate this information to your team. Not only will this offer a better perspective of things, but it also avoids any confusion and resentment that may arise. This also prevents any undercurrents in the team and the overall organization, which is the antithesis of teamwork.
Being clear with everyone on the team about any new information that may help in accomplishing the overall goal also means your team will appreciate being kept in the loop. It also sends a clear message that you value and respect their position in the company.
Creating a memento
A team memento is an excellent way to create a sense of belonging among team members. Sometimes, having a physical reminder that you're part of the team can help bring back focus into the minds (and hearts) of an employee or team member who feels lost or feels like they don't fit in. Creating a badge or a personalized jersey, such as the ones from Just Vision It, and giving a welcome pack of company merchandise are excellent ways of creating a physical reminder that an employee's work is cherished, hasn't gone unseen, or that they are welcomed into their new team.
Empower your team.
Teams of any kind function best when they are empowered to make crucial decisions and tasks that can swiftly move the company forward. Micromanaging every single thing is the most detrimental force in a team. Encouraging them to become self-starters, take on tasks on their own, propose ideas, and implement them are all highly effective ways to get your team to feel empowered and part of the team. Plus, you’re also sending a clear message of trust and respect.
A culture of openness and feedback is a highly valued element, and that's something you want to instill in your team. Hearing the highs and lows of your team on a regular basis helps to clear any roadblocks that are building up, and it also helps build a positive and healthy relationship between team members. When you want to create a culture of openness and feedback, keep in mind that you shouldn't dismiss or glaze over matters that your team brings you up to speed on. Make sure that your team knows that you're there to listen to them and provide assistance.
Talk about dynamics.
Talking, being open, and sharing ideas and thoughts is a great way to build and encourage dialogue. This is another great way to get the team to connect and bond. As much as you'd like things to go over smoothly all the time, at some juncture, you're going to need to look at the team dynamics and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Emails and messaging on Slack & GChat are just some ways to ensure the communication line is constantly open.
Encouraging social events
When communication takes place in a working environment, the tone of voice is different compared to when communication takes place at a setting outside work. The dynamics of the conversation changes simply because the location has changed from a more serious setting to a more formal setting. While teambuilding events are helpful, keep in mind that forcing employees to join a social event isn't the same as having casual meetups after office hours among co-workers. If a company encourages social events outside the workplace as a way to unwind, this is a much better way to create a sense of belonging, rather than to have a once-a-year teambuilding event. Informal gatherings are a great way for peers to get to know one another, as it helps the team grow organically.
Rewarding the team
Plenty of companies now use a business communication platform, and one very popular version is Slack. ProofHub, Hangouts, and Chanty are all amazing tools to encourage communication within the workspace. It’s also an easy way to give a shoutout to anyone who has done amazing work on a project or is just an amazing staff and team member. A quick shoutout to your team who has done excellent work tells them that their hard work hasn't gone unnoticed. These are all just some of the quick ways to reward a team member.
Teamwork is an integral aspect of a business' longevity. As much as a strategy is important, retaining the right culture will attract the right people to your company. Lacking on this will only result in your brand and company lacking in employer value propositions, and you'll lose out on employees who can do really good work. Whether working with co-workers or managing your own employees, these challenges are only amplified when you work from home. Use these tips to strengthen your team.