Team Building in the Workplace

Team Building in the Workplace: Why is this so Critical Today?

Team Building in the Workplace is the most important issue facing all of us today.

Are you like me? Have you learned more about your colleagues during the pandemic?  After working remotely for 6-months I believe team building in the workplace is critical to any organization’s future success.  I believe this is more critical than we’ve realized in the past.   Team building in the workplace is really the solution to executing to your Strategic Plan and goals. 

If you see any of these challenges arising from your remote teams, there may be an opportunity for you to focus slightly more on team building in the workplace:

  • Team members putting their self-interest over the team’s best interest?
  • Team members taking advantage of ambiguity to delay the delivery of their work products?
  • Team members not speaking honestly and in a forthright manner with each other?
  • Team Members doing a ‘work-around’ that wastes time and resources instead of addressing difficult situations directly with their colleagues?

If you suspect even one of these challenges here are some clear and concise approaches you might use consistently to provide just a little focus on team building in the workplace.

Here are some simple, practical, easy to implement solutions:

  1. Clear expectations. When was the last time you sat down individually – over zoom or by phone – to review your expectations with each of your direct reports?  Because of the stress and intensity of balancing work and family all from home, many people may have lost their focus on their work priorities.
  2. Acknowledge each person at the start of these meetings. Try to acknowledge your colleague for something they have done recently that has made a difference for a customer, client, or the team.  By sharing the specifics of how they’ve made a difference, this acknowledgment helps others internalize these positive messages.  This frequently causes them to take more ownership and initiative.
  3. Clear metrics and due dates. When you have this one-on-one discussion, ensure that there is zero ambiguity about each metric that is attached to your expectations for Bob’s.  Make sure you ask Bob questions about each metric to guarantee he fully understands the specifics for each deliverable.  Ask Bob directly if he has any concerns about the metrics and due dates.  When you give Bob this gift of time, you will be delighted in the topics that arise and the innovation that occurs because Bob feels safe to step up and speak up.
  4. Tie Bob’s specific deliverables to the organization’s strategic initiatives for this period.  When people understand how their role fits into the big picture, I find they will commit 250% of their effort to meeting the goals.  When people don’t have this level of clarity they tend to be more relaxed and casual about their work products and commitments.
  5. The final and most important step is to report everyone’s results at your regularly scheduled team meeting.  By sharing a dashboard, whiteboard, or just a spreadsheet, you will inspire everyone to work harder towards achieving their goals.  Peer Pressure can be a highly effective approach to team building in the workplace.  More importantly providing this level of clarity to everyone, in the same format, at the same time helps get and keep everyone focused on the same over-arching goals.  

All of these important steps promote team unity and team effectiveness.  It’s no different than a softball team. When people have clarity about the big picture they will give you all their effort and they will help their colleagues ensure they are successful too.  They will come to you more quickly with questions and more important concerns.  They will reach out to each other for guidance, support, and brainstorming.  Team Building in the workplace won’t be something that you and your colleagues struggle to accomplish. Instead, team alignment will come together easily and organically. 

Ram Charan, the noted author, and scholar says “Anyone can set a strategy and direct people to follow it. It’s alignment with the leader’s intent that you must strive for.”

You will be delighted in the team’s productivity and the results that are generated.  This simple approach can be used at the C-level through the organization to front-line supervisors and their teams.  Everyone deserves to be supported to be successful in the workplace.  Give your colleagues this gift.

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