If you are looking for ways to improve the teamwork in your office (who isn’t?), then here are four important steps you need to consider…
1. LEADERS LEAD!
Many leaders assume that their small group will naturally do their best to work together “as a team.” Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult to elicit a true “team effort” when some of the top money makers in an organization, like physicians in a medical practice or the managing partners of a financial services agency play favorites with their support staff. These favorites are often allowed to skirt around policies and guidelines that are supposed to apply to everyone.
To create a sense of team your leaders must be responsible for creating the environment that is required to achieve this. Leaders must present their expectations of themselves as the leadership TEAM and of the organization as a whole. The presentation must answer the question – “Why Team?”
2. MAKE COMMITMENTS:
If you want a fantastic work environment then your leaders need to take ownership of the following values and demonstrate these behaviors with zero tolerance for any wiggle room!
1. Leaders must commit to not talking badly about anyone in the organization.
2. Refuse to allow any counterproductive “meetings after the staff meeting” in the hallway, cafeteria or in private offices. These types of discussions need full transparency.
3. Leaders must hold under performers accountable, rather than rescuing, fixing and saving “favorites” or family members who are on staff.
3. ACTIVELY INSPIRE BETTER TEAMWORK ALL DAY, EVERYDAY
Great work teams always have crystal clear role clarity. You don’t see great players on winning sports team come to practice each day and only take on roles they “feel” like having. The playbook is agreed on and followed by everyone.
Make certain that your leadership commits to putting issues where they belong. Teamwork becomes ineffective when leaders overstep their boundaries and “weigh in” on matters that really don’t concern them.
Leaders also create problems when they don’t clarify each individual role or when they refuse to support the decision-making and problem solving authority of any particular role.
High-performance teams ensure that role clarity is an ongoing process.
4. MAKE TEAMWORK IMPORTANT IN THE WORKPLACE
Teamwork needs to be important in your workplace, make certain that it is a high priority for your business.
A team environment reassures the customer. It is easy for a customer to see and feel when the staff are not getting along or when they resent the hierarchy.
Teamwork can dramatically lower administrative costs, it increases the quality of the work, and facilitates a safe environment to contribute new ideas and more efficient ways of doing work.
Four Common Ways That Teamwork May Fail:
As you move your office towards increased accountability and a great sense of team, your efforts maybe blocked in the following way…
1. Those who bring in the most revenue may try to be “the exception”rather than the rule when it comes to workplace procedures. They will use their “success” in an effort to illustrate that for them the rules simply don’t apply, they are above the team
2. Your staff members lack the permission to hold each other and their management accountable for agreed upon behaviors. Real teams agree to hold each other accountable in a productive way.
3. Team behavior is treated as a suggestion not a requirement of the job.
4. Performance evaluations are done by one person, not the team.
Consumers are more demanding and less willing to wait for a specific person to get an answer or make a decision. Is your small, nimble workplace team really ready and able to offer answers? Teamwork prevents bottlenecks and stimulates people to work together to solve problems.
Want more? Read all about true teamwork in Chapter 17 of Where Winners Live.