Whether you're in charge of a business, a charity, a community organization or anything else – teamwork is essential to the success of any project. Without teamwork, people won't be working together to accomplish common goals. It's important to find a balance between everyone being individually motivated to succeed, along with striving towards the success of a team. Without the motivation to succeed individually, some people will start to slack off and to not carry their own weight on the team, and without the motivation to succeed as a team then what's the point of having a team project at all? Here are some tips and ideas for maximizing teamwork.
Here's a quick look at some of the ideas we'll be discussing more in-depth...
- Personal benefits for a team's success
- Recognition for a team's success
- Clearly defined goals and roles within the team
Creating incentives for teamwork
This can be in the form of friendly competition where the winning team gets a pizza party, gets a casual Monday at the office, or whatever type of reward will really motivate people. Incentives can be a very effective tool, and they can help to keep all team members on the same page. When you have everyone working together to help motivate the weaker links and to help them perform better, everybody wins.
Personal Benefits for the Success of a Team
Teamwork is great, but at the end of the day most people are more concerned with their own success and ascending the ladder themselves, rather than the overall success of a team. The trick is to leverage this in a way that also helps the team. If you make it clear that teamwork plays a huge role in somebody's advancement at a company, and that being part of a successful team project looks just as good as individual successes, you'll likely see teamwork starting to improve. This can help to eliminate the cutthroat-culture that exists among many teams.
Recognition for a Team's Success
When a team does a great job, make a HUGE deal out of it! When training new employees, talk about past teams that have performed excellently and how these team members benefitted both as a team and as individuals based on their achievements in teamwork. John Pettigrew, CEO & Managing Director of Joinlox
(Australia's leading Industry solutions company) says that: "This will put an early emphasis on teamwork, and will let new employees know how much it matters to you."
Strong Leadership is Essential
Strong leadership is a key part of any team. The types of leaders that earn the most respect are the ones who are willing to roll up their sleeves and to do the exact same tasks that they're asking other people to perform. Nothing will hurt morale more than a team leader who refuses to be on the front lines with everyone else. There are many different leadership styles and it's important to find the one that best suits the project, the team, and the overall culture of the organization.
Clearly Defined Goals & Roles
How can anyone work towards a goal if it's not clearly defined? Every team should have very short term, medium term, and long term goals
. Very short term goals are things like “Prepare daily reports on time”, or “Fax information sheet to the head office.” Medium goals are basically a collection of shorter term goals, or rather the result of said short-term goals. For example, medium goals could be to meet monthly sales expectations, to improve productivity by 5% for the week, or to complete smaller parts of a larger project. Long term goals are things that may take months, or even years, that are slowly being worked towards each time one of the short and medium term goals are completed. Daily monotonous tasks are a lot easier to swallow when you can see the big picture.
It's also important to define the roles of each team member so that everybody knows exactly what is expected of them. Those in leadership roles need to be made aware of such, as do the other team members. When everyone knows their job and what's expected, things will run a lot more smoothly.
Final Thoughts on Maximizing Teamwork
It's also important to have a hierarchy, or a chain of command, so that people know who to talk to when they have a problem or they need help. When the emphasis is on teamwork, everyone will be a lot more comfortable asking for the help they need, since you're getting rid of that “dog eat dog” mentality that can creep into many organizations if you're not careful.