Anything that has to be done involving more than one person would be more effective if those involved know the power of teamwork and put it to practice. Working as a team has some constraining factors but that should not dissuade anyone who is really interested in getting the benefits of it. It is important to know how team work can be built and encouraged especially in corporate settings where productivity is closely related to the quality of teamwork that is applied. Effective teamwork skills have the potential of turning even the most unproductive companies or situations around. Whether they are group activities or meetings that bring people with a common goal together, nothing will make them more effective than working together as a team. With this understanding, lets examine the various methods through which teamwork is established and the benefits that could be expected from it.
How to build teamwork
There are several ways to build teamwork and ensure productivity in the work place and every setting in which people have to work together towards a common good. Building effective teamwork skills could seem like a mystery to those who have gone on for long without group activities or working together as a team. But you don’t have to stay in the dark. Here are some effective ways to build and develop teamwork so that the entire group can benefit from its advantages.
Discuss the value of teamwork
In trying to get people to work together more efficiently, it is important to first show them how valuable it is that they work together. Building teamwork without the real value of it in mind makes the whole thing more challenging. In corporate settings, you can hold meetings to discuss the importance of working together before you even go ahead to practicing the various methods that help in developing a team spirit. This will make everyone who is involved more open to the activities they have to participate in to build teamwork. If people don’t know why they do something, the chances of them doing it well will be minimal and there is not much you can expect from them.
Create clear goals for teamwork
When those in a team have a plan or reason why they do something, you can expect them to put in more efforts towards it. Crating goals you wish to attain through teamwork will keep those involved focused and more serious. This will also help everyone assess the impact of teamwork and judge whether or not it was beneficial in the first place. Goals unite people towards a common good and gives them reasons to put in the best they can to make things work out. For example, it will be odd and hardly beneficial for leaders to instruct that people in a company cooperate and work together as a team if they do not have some objective that drives the entire team towards a common good.
Design team building activities
There are several team building activities that could help the people develop the bond and unity necessary to work together. However, before building effective teamwork skills, it is important to first figure out those group activities that will actually make a difference in the results the team gets. Such activities should be designed to accommodate every member of the team. They do not necessarily have to be about work. A company trying to build unity and encourage team work within departments could organize interdepartmental games that come with some kind of reward for the winners. This could be something like a football game or competition between departments. The goal is to build a sense of unity between members of every department and help them consider themselves more like a team than just individuals working together. As they engage in such fun activities, the spirit of competition within that period makes them regard members of each department as part of a team rather than just someone working towards achieving an individual goal.
Remember team building activities should be designed in such a way that everyone involved participates. Working together as a team means getting everyone involved. If only some people participate in such activities, it may only push them further apart rather than pull them together. It is hard to convince someone to get involved in building or developing a team through activities that are not going to involve their participation. Team building activities should be designed based on their ability to get everyone involved to participate. If some people are going to be dormant, you should consider a different activity.
Encourage personal ideas and contributions
As you develop team building activities and get people involved, it is important to encourage those who participate. One of the most effective ways to do this is to appreciate the ideas of people. When team meetings are held and members give their ideas on certain issues, those ideas should be taken note of and appreciated no matter how incorrect they may be. If someone gives and idea that worth it, it should be appreciated. People could sometimes shrink into their shells and never let out the treasures in the form of ideas that are locked up within them if they suspect that those ideas are not going to be appreciated or that the could be castigated for it. Therefore, within every group of people who decide to work as a team, there must be a certain level of respect for the contributions and efforts of everyone. It is not about competing with each other but complementing each other to realize a predetermined goal.
Create a reward system for good teamwork
Another way to build a team and encourage teamwork if to create a system of reward for the entire team. Give members of the team a reason to participate or work hard towards accomplishing team goals by giving them something to look forward to as a reward for their efforts. It must be something that rewards their decision of working together as a team instead of individual rewards. There may be rewards that are gotten by an entire team as a result of their coperate diligence but it is important to also have members anticipate an individual reward. There are certain levels of commitment to a team you can only get from members by introducing some reward that could be given to individuals if they meet the requirements. For example, if a company introduces award programs to encourage the most productive team or department, it can also introduce a similar award for the person who performs best within departments. People are not always satisfied with general or group appreciation. For some reason, if someone is singled out of the group and appreciated they will prefer that. Even if the appreciation is for something they did for the team, they would prefer being put on the spotlight. Give team members rewards for their commitment to the team and they are definitely going to put in more effort and do better.
Review the teamwork program from time to time
As time goes on, the members of a team may begin to loose that team spirit so much so that building effective teamwork skills becomes a difficult feat. Selfish ambitions may begin to set in and members may lose touch with the importance of teamwork so much that they fail to put it into practice again. That is why management should on a regular basis take time to review the issue of team work and assess whether or not things are getting better. Assessment of teamwork could be done in one of two ways.
First, management can evaluate individual progress to see how well changes have taken place. It is important to know how teamwork has helped members of a team to be more productive and especially their personal opinions about it. If there are little or no improvements made through teamwork, then those who are involved in it could become discouraged. Making personal assessments should be followed by taking suggestions that could make teamwork more effective from each team member. There may be issues that hinder productivity and unless such an evaluation is done, it will be difficult to make beneficial adjustments.
The second way to evaluate teamwork is to look at the team as a whole and try to see what can be done to make improvements in the way they coperate with each other. This kind of assessment can help you determine whether or not it will be better for the team to be broken down into smaller groups to make them more effective.
Top ranking executives should set the pace and present a model
If teamwork is not something that was usually emphasized or encouraged in the company, top ranking executives will have to lead the entire corporate body by showing them an example worth emulating. The matter of building effective teamwork skills is not about talking but doing. Working together as a team through group activities is easier for those who have a model to copy. Executives and top managers should set the pace and present a model for other departments or teams to follow. They may have to organize meetings and events that encourage unity and teamwork amongst themselves in order to make things work out. When top ranking officials make teamwork part of their agenda and let the people under them learn by watching their commitment to their team, they learn to be committed to their own teams.
Bring inspiration from past teamwork successes
Some companies have a culture that has encouraged teamwork over the years. Thus they have records of departmental exploits and the rewards that have usually been given to those who have shown extraordinary results as a result of teamwork. Some of these companies have theses awards displayed around the company to remind those who are there at the moment of the value or significance of making exploits through teamwork.
Introduce fun activities into the organization’s agenda
There are some activities that are part of a company’s everyday routine but they are also interesting enough to help foster teamwork. These activities can be used to strengthen the bond between workers and make teamwork easier and more effective. For example if the company has lunch break at a certain time, those who are part of a certain department can make arrangements to have their lunch together and discuss some social issues during that time so that the bond between them becomes stronger. As a result they are more open to cooperating with each other in the place of work. Sometimes, it is important that those who work together become more than just coworkers. The closer they are on a one to one relationship, the better off they would be when it comes to building teamwork and working together.
Make teamwork success public (as an incentive)
Within a corporate set up, it is important for those teams which perform well are recognized. This is beyond giving them reward. Publicize teamwork and let the other teams within your organization be encouraged to work together and produce better results. Some companies have branches in different cities or several locations in the same city. Each of those stations could be regarded as a team and the most productive of them receive a recognition that is made public in all other branches. I know a Money transfer agency that does something like this to encourage their workers but most importantly to support team work within branches. Within a season, the branch that is most productive has their branch name and the picture of workers in that branch published in all branches within the town besides the awards they get.
Benefits of teamwork
Some companies that should have been much more productive than they are now are actually limited to a certain level. The main reason is the lack of teamwork and patriotism which should have been promoted through group activities and working together as a team. But teamwork is not practiced because some do not actually know the advantage or importance of it. So here are a few reasons why every company, business or group of people who are working towards a common goal should actually put in the efforts to make it something worthwhile.
Inspires creativity and encourages learning
Building teamwork is one way to encourage people to learn and develop themselves. A team is usually the perfect setting for the creativity of people to be challenged and especially for them to learn from others. When people come together as a team, the single goal that unites them not only becomes easier to accomplish but it also gives everyone involved the opportunity to participate, learn and make worthy contributions. At the end, when things turn out well, you realize that everyone involved is proud of the role they played and can celebrate the victory or success together.
Builds trust amongst team members
One thing that must be in place for people to effectively work together is trust. But trust between people is not something that just happens. It has to be built and one way to build it is to simply get people to work together. It is only going to take time before the members of the team begin to see reasons why they should trust and respect each other more. Many times, the lack of trust is because people are not familiar with what the members of their team know. So everyone holds back out of uncertainty. However, when they are given the opportunity to relate with each as a team, each person’s skills ans abilities come to light. For example students who are part of a particular department may not be able to build a certain degree of trust between themselves that helps them to be more productive. However when they are able to come together as a team, they can each benefit from what the other person knows.
Teaches conflict resolution
It is hard for one to really say whether or not he is skilled at conflict resolutions. The issue of conflict resolution is an important part of productivity in every organizational setting. People can only be productive to the extent to which they can resolve conflicts amongst themselves because whether or not you expect it conflicts are going to come up. There are two basic advantages of team work as far as conflict resolution is concerned. The first is preventive and the second is curative.
First prevents conflicts. When people do not have a sense or consciousness of being part of a team, it causes each person to think like an individual working towards an individual goal. But that is antagonistic to the effectiveness with which the entire team should function. This will increase the possibility of having conflicts with those who should have been working together as a team. But when individuals within a corporate setting work together hand in hand, they do not necessarily see themselves as individuals trying to accomplish an individual goal. They are more likely to concentrate on the greater goal or whatever it is that the team should be working on, thus limiting the likelihood for conflicts to come up.
Secondly, teamwork helps to settle conflicts. Since conflicts arise from individual ideas and intentions that clash with each other, it is very likely that those who are caught up in conflicts will more easily ressolve the issues that should have otherwise made things very difficult both on the general and individual level. For settings where the effectiveness with which work can be done at one level is very closely related to the effectiveness of another level, a whole chain of activities could be disrupted simply because those at a certain level have serious differences to settle. If they were made to work as a team, those conflicts will be easier to resolve because those who have difference will definitely understand how their actions or inactions affect the whole team. Superiors who encourage teamwork can expect easier conflict resolutions between those who are in conflict within their department.
Promotes a sense of solidarity
There is a certain level of commitment and loyalty that is need for companies or people who work towards a common goal to achieve their aims. People are more loyal to a cause if they have a sense of belonging. Some people will not be loyal to people without a cause. These type of people are called comrades. They are only loyal to a cause and by extension, those who stand for the same thing. This means anyone who does not belong to the circle of people who are for the same cause cannot have their loyalty. Others will find it quite easy getting along with people and being loyal to them whether or not they have something in particular they are fighting against or fighting for. It is important to make teamwork a part of every group of people who must work together.
Encourages participation from workers
As workers begin to have a sense of loyalty towards one another and the cause or objectives that unite them, it is easier for them to work together and participate more in meetings and other events that matter. The reason why you may have some people reluctant to participate in some activities like meetings and social events is the lack of a sense of belonging to a particular group.
A great way to encourage risk taking
People have to often take serious risk in order to have the result others are excited about even in corporate settings. Building teamwork is one way to encourage workers to take healthy risk. Individuals are more likely to reach out to opportunities although risky when they know that the consequences, should it fail will not be on them alone. If one has to take risks on behalf of a team, he or she knows that the consequences will not be left for him to carry alone.
At the end of the day, teamwork is something that every company looking forward to great success must encourage within its settings. Building teamwork may require some efforts, but if you give it the time and efforts deserved, you will definitely get something tangible out of it.