Laura Iñiguez, Content Manager at Hirebook
Laura is a content and social media strategist with deep experience in Employee Engagement, People Management, and Culture. She works with Hirebook to bring their innovative best practices to life through content, videos, and webinars seen by thousands around the globe.
Pub: December 2 2020
Upd: November 17 2021
Good teamwork is the keystone to a successful business and it should never be taken for granted. Everyone has their own idea regarding what makes a good teamwork, but we can all agree that it’s an extremely important part of a company, unfortunately not everyone knows how to create unity in the workplace.
You’ve probably experienced an ongoing war of egos among teammates, a double-crosser or simply just unmotivated colleagues that have a negative impact on everyone’s work. As a manager, collaboration among employees should be a top priority, but we know good teamwork it’s not always easy to achieve and sometimes it feels your team should be able to work together without your help, but if an environment has gotten toxic it is time to step in… or you could maybe step in before it gets toxic and avoid a lot of stressful situations.
Why is Teamwork Important?
When your team learns how to work together, you’ll get countless benefits. For starters, you won’t have to be behind everyone’s back to verify if they’re doing their jobs or if they’re doing something wrong, trusting your team is definitely a huge benefit and something many managers aspire to. Unfortunately, some team leaders don't find it important to develop teamwork skills.
Each team member brings a different skill, point of view and experience to the table; just imagine you can get all of those resources working in your favor! When your team is motivated and engaged, they perform at their best, you’ve got nothing to lose but a lot to win when trying these techniques:
Clear Objectives and Roles
One of the main problems within a team is not knowing exactly what their tasks are, and this turns into passive-aggressive interactions among colleagues. If your employees don’t know exactly what they have to do, they’ll start doing someone else’s tasks or just stop doing what they’re supposed to do, leading to incomplete objectives and people stepping on someone else’s toes trying to get more power. A team with these characteristics is definitely not an efficient one.
We encourage you to use our OKRs feature and assign different objectives to each member of your team, every objective and key result can be measured as you need; you’ll also be able to set a deadline and see everyone’s progress, this way you just have to focus on those employees that are having a hard time completing their tasks and see if there’s anything you can do to help.
As you set clear objectives and roles, you’ll have the opportunity to see who could be collaborating on other projects or if someone has an unseen skill that needs developing and could help create effective teamwork.
One Goal with All Involved
To raise collaboration among employees, set one common goal and assign OKRs to each member in order to achieve that common goal. This will propel your team’s good communication and allow everyone’s strengths to shine, fostering togetherness in order to fulfill their objectives.
This is one of the team practices that motivates employees to work together for other activities and tasks, even if they’re not related to their position, but looking out for each other is a very valuable thing that encourages good teamwork. In the end everyone’s working for the same company, and the team’s success is their individual success.
Foster Open Communication
Managers are team leaders, and a good leader listens to what their team has to say. If your team is afraid to ask you questions or comment on a project, they’ll most likely make mistakes or have a work half done because they’re missing guidance. Situations like these only lead to people working double shifts, more stress on everyone’s shoulders and a toxic work environment where there’s no trust and no motivation. (Check out our article “One-on-One Meetings: 8 Steps to Improve Your Relationship with your Team” to get some ideas on an effective one-on-one).
Encourage an open communication, listen to what your team has to say, they might even have the answer to a difficult project that’s been on hold or even a connection or acquaintance you need. Let your employees take part in some decisions. Being heard is a huge motivation and increases engagement. If your employees feel heard they’ll feel part of the company and will honestly try to do their best as if it was their own business.
When having an open communication, you’ll also avoid several mishaps and misunderstandings, team members don’t just let things happen and leave situations to chance, they communicate to leave no room for confusion and they ask questions until they’re all cleared. Communicative employees are also not afraid to ask for feedback not only from their manager, but from their team members as well, allowing them to grow and learn from each other, which encourages career development.
Reward Your Team
Humans often react to positive reinforcement. If a team is exceeding expectations, let the rest of the company know about it and give recognition to those who deserve it. You can even every once in a while reward your employees with a treat or even a half day off, if the team knows they earned a prize by working together, they’ll feel encouraged to keep working together, showing effective teamwork.
Your team members will often try to help each other when someone is struggling to complete their goals and make you proud, but also to win that pizza party or gift card you talked about!
Do not abuse this resource since it could backfire and demotivate instead of motivate, but never cease to recognize a job well done.
Encourage Social Interactions
If your employees don’t really know each other, it will be hard to care for each other. When going out with your coworkers you create a bond that’s not easy to create at the office. You never know who’s hiding behind the corporate mask, maybe that newbie that seems so shy is actually great at comedy, or that person that’s usually super focused and short with words is actually very nice and caring.
Create team building opportunities for your team to bond outside the workplace; maybe a drink after a long week, maybe bring some coffee and treats to the break room and start showing genuine interest in your employees’ lives. Just a little social push can make a huge difference in developing a strong team and increasing collaboration among employees.
Hold Everyone Accountable
We had to address this since not everything can be focused on the positives. Every workplace has different problems and sometimes these problems are triggered by specific people. Maybe at first they don’t seem like big problems, but ignoring the elephant in the room can eventually lead to disaster.
If someone’s spoiling or discouraging others, hold them accountable, because if you don’t, the rest of the team will feel like they can get away with anything without any accountability whatsoever, or they could hold it against you and against those who get away with it. None of these options are optimal, so it’s better to be fair when someone’s not being a team player.
Holding your employees accountable doesn’t mean you have to be on everyone’s back at all times, but your team needs to know they’d be held accountable if they do something bad. This is not intended to frighten the team, but to give a sense of security, let your team members know that you want the best for them and that you won’t allow anything or anyone to damage their work dynamic.
Some managers underestimate the importance of great teamwork, but it’s crucial to understand that collaborating with our colleagues makes it easier to achieve success than trying to achieve it on our own. We hope that these techniques will help you develop your teamwork skills and promote a healthier and stronger teamwork.
Photo credit - tirachardz