Skilled, dependable employees are certainly one of the most important aspects of building and maintaining a successful business. Hiring the right people is one of the most important things a business owner does, but what about after you hire those people? You may have the most qualified, dependable group of employees working for you, but if they don’t work together well your business will suffer. Let’s look at several ways you can encourage effective teamwork among your employees.
Make it a Group Effort – Any business, whether it be an independent retailer or a large corporate office environment, is inherently social. Those who work at a particular business must work individually to accomplish specific tasks, but they must also work together to innovate, think creatively, and solve problems. Employees who feel that they are alone in their efforts will often think narrowly and not function at full capacity. Neuroscientists call this penomenon “load sharing.” Making sure employees feel that they are part of a healthy group environment will give them a sense of ease and reduced pressure. They know they don’t necessarily have to shoulder the load all by themselves, and that they have a ready and willing support group in the other employees.
Create a Circle of Trust – Jack Byrnes had the right idea, but not the right method of creating a “circle of trust” for his family. Instead of making his prospective son-on-law Greg feel welcome and appreciated in the movie “Meet the Parents”, he belittled and bullied Greg. As we all know, this resulted in chaos and failure. In a movie it’s humorous, but in the real world, belittling and bullying someone will cause real chaos and failure. Creating a circle of trust for your business can be accomplished by creating an atmosphere where employees feel free to share ideas or ask for help without being afraid of being criticized or berated. As an employer, you should always be open to feedback and new ideas. Regular team meetings where sharing is encouraged in a non-judgmental atmosphere is an essential component of creating a cohesive, effective group of employees. Always be appreciative of feedback, negative or positive, and always take action on the feedback you receive from employees. As the group becomes more and more comfortable with the open atmosphere where they can share ideas freely without fear of reprisal, a feeling of trust between employees will grow.
Encourage Diversity and Individuality – All employees have varying skill sets, so get to know those employees and their particular strengths and weaknesses. It is good to have employees with complementary skills working together, but you will also need to encourage employees of different ages, ethnicity, gender and personality to work together. Let them know that no matter who they are, they are valued as individuals who have different skills and personalities, and that each of them has an important contribution to make to the business. People who feel valued at an individual level will always be better as a member of a team. The old adage “There is no “I” in “Team” does not always ring true. Yes, teams must work together as a cohesive unit to accomplish objectives, but teams are made of individuals who need to have a healthy self-image in order to be an effective member of the team.
Encouraging effective teamwork is one of the most important aspects of managing your business. Employees who can work individually as well as part of a team will be one of the most valuable assets your business has. The good news is that with some planning and thought, you can create an atmosphere within your business structure that encourages and fosters effective teamwork as well as individuality among your employees.