In theory, a positive team spirit is a result of an individual effort of all employees, however, in order for people to really start trying, they need to have a strong enough incentive. In theory, this may sound all wrong, after all, who doesn’t want to have a good relationship with their coworkers. Still, counting on a good-will of your staff members is not a reliable business strategy. With that in mind, here are several tips that can help you push things in the right direction.
The employment process
One of the first things you have to understand when creating a great team environment is the fact that not everyone is a team player. Employing an emotional vampire is not just a bad move, but one that could handicap all your future team-building efforts. Therefore, whenever you see someone who can’t seem to stay within the same company for long, ask them why they left their last several employers. If all that they complain about is the negative work environment (in several different places) chances are that they might have been the cause of it.
Apart from this, there are some people who are simply more compatible with others. People with certain types of personalities go well along together, even if they’re completely dissimilar in nature. Nonetheless, knowing and recognizing this requires that you have years of experience when it comes to working in the office and are a seasoned recruitment officer. If the latter isn’t true, you should probably seek the counsel of one or, at very least, try to do some independent research on this topic.
Spend outside-of-work time together
A second thing you need to understand is the fact that the fraternization amongst the employees is a good thing. However, if they’re fraternizing when they’re supposed to be working, the ROI behind this trend is somewhat dubious. On the one hand, you’re achieving a greater team unity which keeps people in your employ longer and provides you with a productivity boost, however, the downtime and idleness amongst the employees increases, as well. Moreover, this also sometimes leads to the formation of clans within these groups, which sometimes results in a harmful inter-office rivalry. This is something that we’ll discuss later on.
In order to overcome this massive problem, you need to ensure that if your employees are spending time together (as they should), this needs to take place in breaks and outside of work. The simplest way to achieve this is to create a breakroom or cafeteria where your employees can share lunch together. Moreover, by packing this breakroom with all sorts of fun activities, they’ll make a mental connection of having a fun time when together. Needless to say, this will also be a cause to so many positive memories.
The issue of rivalry
Earlier on, we touched on the topic of rivalry, which is definitely something worth exploring some more. Namely, an inter-office rivalry can be a bad thing if it leads to backstabbing, sabotage and rumors. On the other hand, it can also be a great thing, seeing as how it may lead individuals, teams and entire departments in your employ to compete with one another. This kind of intrinsic motivation often makes individual outperform even some of their wildest expectations.
To harness this positive rivalry, you can organize a competition or even a sporting event, where separate teams will compete against one another. For instance, you could host a rugby match between two competing teams. Due to the fact that this is a contact sport, chances are that your employees will get a chance to resolve some of their disputes in a less violent and more adult manner.
Sharing praise and feedback
One of the things you should do in order to give your team a boost in spirit is to give them some praise and constructive feedback. The problem, nonetheless, lies in the fact that not a lot of people know how to properly pull this off. Namely, praising individual effort is something that most managers do, either way, however, if you were just to praise the individual effort and not praise team effort, guess what people are going to focus on more. This will most likely result in your team constantly trying to make themselves look good, even if it means bringing the entire team down. To avoid this from taking place, make sure to put a bit more value in teamwork than in individual achievements.
As for the feedback, you need to understand that how you put it matters even more than the message that you’re trying to send. For instance, if you start outright criticizing, the recipients of this criticism will stand behind their defense mechanisms and they’ll fail to hear anything that you really have to say. Instead, start by listing their strengths and make a lighthearted suggestion of how they could become even more efficient and productive. Making a mention of what this would mean for them as individuals in terms of employment, promotion prospects and eventual raise might also serve as a great incentive.
Understand human nature
The easiest way to get disappointed is to expect something impossible or unlikely. Namely, any plan that rests on the idea that one of your employees will act out of their character (no matter what you do) is a bad plan, to begin with. Sure, people may surprise you from time to time, yet, counting on this from the very start is most likely to end up in a disappointment. So, prior to setting your goals, you need to know your employees but, most importantly, you need to understand human nature.
These simple five tips are something that can help a group of gifted individuals turn into an efficient team. The best thing about this is the fact that once you do manage to construct this kind of structure, it becomes independent, resilient and consistent. In other words, all you have to do is push things in the right direction in order to start and an unstoppable avalanche of unity and productivity.