If you run a team, be a leader--not a dictator.
Teams are made of people--be sure to recognize them for individual
accomplishments individually and publicly.
Never chew out a team member publicly. Reward publicly, punish
Don't allow slackers--get rid of them.
Keep lines of communication open.
Actively solicit ideas, and then listen to the input. Don't poo-poo
ideas when someone is brave enough to offer them.
Reward people for assisting their team mates.
Use humor often, but don't make fun of people. By example, encourage
them to make fun of themselves.
Rotate some responsibilities, give ownership of others.
Bar negativity, but not by edict. Create a positive environment by
eliminating irritants (such as petty policies and bad equipment).
Managers often get dragged into "teamwork"
initiatives that have employee subjugation as their goal. Employees can smell
this particular rat, and the initiative is not only doomed to fail but doomed to
These initiatives often involve "teambuilding
exercises," which, when you think about it, are pretty silly. Isn't the fact
that you're all working for the same company, trying to keep the doors open,
already evidence enough you have a team in place? Rather than spend your limited
resources on artificial exercises, you need to focus on meeting your business
goals with the team approach. More about that, in a moment.
In addition to the initiatives, other
teamwork traps include:
Employee performance evaluations that
require a manager to evaluate the employee on teamwork. Solution: Get rid of
these evaluations. They are never accurate, never timely, and nearly always
Peer pressure disguised as "teamwork." A
good team has members of different abilities and temperaments. Squelching
input based on a group norm isn't teamwork. It's groupthink.
Use of the word "teamwork" to mean
compliance with the boss. A good boss keeps the team on track, but doesn't
need to enforce his will by dint of branding people "not a team player" if
they don't comply.
Outside socialization as a job
requirement. The typical employee hired on at the company, and the company
hired the coworkers. This does not make those people relatives or the
closest of friends. They are coworkers. Requiring them to attend mutual
events after work or toss out their existing friendships for
company-mandated ones is not teamwork.
So, what's teamwork really? It's the result
of an attitude based on mutual respect, the desire to cooperate, and the agreed
upon need to meet agreed upon goals. If you are an executive who wants teamwork
in your workplace, start by doing the following:
Be respectful of everyone. Don't look
down on people because of their position, education, connections, etc.
Make the goals clear. Communicate to
everyone what is expected, and make sure they understand by listening to
what they say.
Be open to feedback. Genuinely open. If
you disagree or don't understand, ask for explanation (in a non-threatening
Ask for input. This doesn't mean
pretending, either. Employees can tell when the suggestion box is actually a
Focus. If the team has clear goals and
there's a real reason to achieve them, you're halfway there. Communicate the
need to acheive the goals by focusing on those goals in what you say and do.