The way a team works together in a workplace can determine the success or failure of a company. If this sounds serious, it’s because it is! Plenty of people roll their eyes at team building exercises, but if your team can’t work well together, you’re headed for trouble. If you’re ready to encourage team unity and smash your goals this year, here are five ways to start.
1. Learn How To Lead
It may be intimidating or difficult to hear, but as a team leader, the success hinges upon you. There’s some truth to the belief that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers. If you aren’t actively making someone’s workplace comfortable, exciting, and rewarding, you could unknowingly be curating an environment that breeds stress and discord between colleagues. Utilize leadership resources so that you know how to collect feedback and give your employees the support they need to be happy working under you. When you build trust, people are more likely to try new things and work towards a common goal.
2. Know Your Team
Get to know your team on a more personal level. You don’t need to know every detail about their lives, but you should learn what is important to them. For example, if Jenna hates sports, she’s going to loathe those office softball leagues you insist on organizing every summer. However, if you pay attention, you may learn she loves to cook, and would actually love to organize a cooking class for the team. When you get to know the people you work with, you begin to spot lots of unique skills that can fit together in all sorts of ways to make your work in the office more enjoyable and efficient for everyone.
3. Utilize Effective Team Building Exercises
In 2021, you’ll need to get a little more unique with your team building exercises. Luckily, plenty of people saw an opportunity for innovation, and have created lots of opportunities for virtual team building. You’d be surprised at all the activities you can do over a Zoom or Skype call. You can do virtual escape rooms, tabletop roleplaying games, or even cheese and dessert tastings. Sometimes the strangest or most unexpected activities can be the most fun, and you can learn more about your team while you’re at it. Plus, when you pick activities that don’t feel like a typical team building activity, your colleagues may not even recognize it for the collaborative exercise that it is!
4. Reward Effectively
It’s time to let the pizza party die. None of your employees will see this as an effective reward for their ingenious ideas, increased work load, stress from working at home, or countless hours of overtime. Reward your employees with things like more vacation time, gift cards to cool experiences, better office equipment, or better yet, ask them how they would prefer to be rewarded for achieving milestones. When your employees are properly motivated and rewarded, they will be more likely to pursue your office goals with the focus and energy you require.
5. Focus on Purpose
Far too many managers make the mistake of spreading tasks across the office with little or no communication in between. If your goals aren’t clear, you could have too many people working on one task and completely ignoring another. During your meetings, highlight your main goals and give very clear action steps on how to achieve them. Make room for communication between team members at different steps, and always be open to feedback. When everyone knows exactly why they are doing the tasks they’ve been assigned and can see the bigger picture, they understand how important their work is to the overall goal and will be more excited to do well.
It can be difficult to work on team unity, especially if most of your team is still working from home. When you take the time to learn more about your team, how they work best, and what motivates them, you can help them work more efficiently as a unit and crush those company goals.