As the year ends and another begins, our key word is ‘Teamwork’.
There is a popular interpretation of TEAM as Together We Achieve More.
We sure want to achieve more in the new year.
Sports coaches and motivational speakers preach the value of teamwork. Teachers repeatedly tell students it is one of the keys to success. Parents tell kids working well with others is an important part of growing up.
And yet, when it comes to crunch time, the concept of true teamwork can often get lost.
Today’s “execution-based” work environment is no different. The stressful and hectic day-to-day pressures can occasionally make teamwork disappear altogether.
Here are six key actions to keep in mind when thinking about facilitating teamwork among employees.
Key Action 1: Provide a Context for Collaboration
To stimulate enthusiasm and guide the team’s day-to-day decisions, it’s important to provide your team with a strong, clear focus. Team members need to understand the reasons for their work and how their collaborative efforts will add value to organizational results. Explain how the team’s work fits into the larger picture, including the reason the team exists and its role in supporting organization’s strategies, its impact on others when the team’s productivity is high (or low), and performance expectations for the team.
Key Action 2: Review the team’s goals
Clear goals help team members define their work and sharpen their focus on results. Speaking with your team about goals may be challenging when the goals are set by senior management and are perceived to be aggressive. To build enthusiasm, you’ll need to demonstrate your own commitment.
When you discuss goals with your team, be sure to explain how they support the organization’s goals and objectives and help team members commit to the goals by helping them understand what’s in it for them, both individually and as a team.
Key Action 3: Highlight team strengths and accomplishments
People thrive on recognition. It is a powerful motivator that increases morale and creates enthusiasm for new challenges. In addition, emphasizing the connection between current efforts and big-picture objectives can turn resistance into motivation.
Asking team members to identify their strengths, both individually and collectively, can help them feel more positive and confident about their abilities to accomplish new goals.
Key Action 4: Generate ideas for meeting goals
Letting the team define its work, especially new or challenging tasks, helps build commitment and accountability. The people charged with reaching goals are usually in the best position to come up with practical ideas.
Ask open-ended questions to stimulate thinking, such as: How would you approach this challenge? Use brainstorming techniques to generate the most ideas. Brainstorming encourages creative thinking by suspending judgment, evaluation, and critique for a prescribed period of time.
Key Action 5: Agree on strategies for moving forward
Be sure to guide team members in developing a plan for implementing their ideas. At the end of the conversation, be sure to directly ask for the team’s full commitment to the strategies and results you’ve discussed
Clarify the individual team member’s roles and responsibilities. Lack of clarity creates confusion and frustration. Each team member should have a clear understanding of how he or she will work individually and with others to accomplish team goals
Key Action 6: Provide ongoing support
Following up regularly conveys your own commitment, helps you respond to changing conditions, and reinforces the team’s sense of pride and purpose.
Acknowledge the team’s successes as it proceeds toward accomplishing goals, and reinforce the positive impact the team has on accomplishing larger organizational goals.
Making the right moves to foster teamwork is not easy, but keeping the above ideas in mind can help you form the kind of teams that move your business forward, not hold it back.
To learn more about key leadership skills that drive performance and engagement,visit