OPINION: How to turn a group into a team
JOHANNESBURG - One of the biggest assets to any successful business is good staff who know how to work together as a cohesive team.
While strong individuals are important, a group of diverse employees collaborating together brings a about an well-oiled machine with increased workplace productivity and streamlined processes.Each employee brings in a unique skillset which can be well complemented in a group.
Herewith are some suggestions on how to turn a group into a cohesive team:
Always set team goals and milestones to help motivate employees to work together. Making use of timelines, project plans and structured content allows everyone to share a distinct point of view and keeps them on the same page. You can even introduce teamwork as a category for performance reviews.
When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to continue to perform well. Praise your employees for excellent teamwork through formal recognition such as a “team of the month” title or a shout out in the company’s internal newsletter.
For a team to feel proud of the work they are doing, they need to share in the vision of the business and have a clear idea of its long-term goals. Staff may even offer new solutions for the business if given the opportunity to voice their perspectives through brainstorming together.
Good comradery is key to a successful team, so it’s important to set the right tone in the office. Gossip, jokes in poor taste, derogatory comments and bad attitudes should not be tolerated, and need to be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Opportunities for informal socialising together can build further empathy and trust between team members.
Streamlined communication is the foundation of a good team. Regular team meetings and tools other than email are useful, examples include Slack or even WhatsApp Groups. Added to this, every employee should feel comfortable to voice their thoughts, opinions and concerns.
Make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, and how they fit into the bigger team. The direct line of management needs to be defined; who a team member reports to and who they can speak to if they are experiencing any issues or challenges should be clear.
To cultivate an effective team spirit, ensure you have good managers in place to help steer the ship. Listening begins at the top, and managers need to be able to receive feedback and criticism. Showing respect for all team members will set the right tone and cultivate respect for management.
Ben Bierman is a managing director at Business Partners Limited.