In the workplace, there are plenty of ways that morale and productivity can be damaged. One such way is through the lack of team cohesion and proper team building. Without a well-oiled machine working together, projects go unfinished or finished improperly, drama and distrust run rampant, and there is a lack of commitment to helping one another.
Building team cohesion isn’t a difficult task either, which makes it so curious as to how it’s a lacking aspect in many workplaces. There are fundamental parts of team building that every employer and employee should know, but they’re often overlooked in favor of getting work done faster or being focused on individual work, not for the benefit of the team. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to incorporate better team-building resources and efforts in the workplace.
Provide Communication Tools
Without the right tools, no one can succeed. You wouldn’t expect a mechanic to fix your alternator with a shovel, so you need to provide team communication and messaging tools to the team for better focus on goals and expressing needs or concerns. Given the right communication tools in the workplace, employees can feel like they have a bigger part in the goings-on of the office workflow and dynamic. Communication is key to any relationship, and a work team cohesion is a flexible relationship with many moving parts so communication maybe even more important because it’s such a varied group.
Build Trust from Leadership Down
Trust is another factor in a relationship along with communication, but in the workplace, there is a hierarchy that causes a dilemma. The leader, often the employer, but sometimes an individual who was chosen for the role must exhibit displays of trustworthy behavior. This is hard, because one member of the team may feel they were slighted when picking who would be in said position. When leadership can garner trust, it allows for work to progress and ideas to flow much faster than trying to assure that the power structure is not unfair. This means embedding yourself or the leader in the works of the group to pull weight, rather than lead from the sidelines.
Foster Connections Between Employees
Meeting people halfway is also a vital aspect that must be considered when building team cohesion. When there is no common ground, there is no progress. Team members need to foster connections, whether it’s organically or by putting them in situations to develop them so that they can learn more about who they are working with and cohabitating within the workplace. This is accomplishable with one-on-one casual interviews, workplace meets and greets, or by participating in team-building exercises that pair members together based on strengths and weaknesses, commonalities, or differences in hopes of creating lasting relationships that translate well into work efficiency and social cohesion.
Allow for Flexible Learning Opportunities
The use of team-building exercises is often lamented for various reasons. Some employees feel they are canned, boring, or corporate exercises that don’t truly help people get to know one another. This leads to team members simply going through the motions to complete the tasks asked of them, without actually learning any skills or getting to know their fellow workers. The solution is to incorporate more flexible learning opportunities. Workplace mentorship programs are a good example of how to allow team members to exist in more democratic learning processes, as everyone gets a chance to be a leader on a microcosmic scale. This is something to consider as it can help pair those strong members with ones who are weaker in certain areas.
Get Feedback on Progress
Lastly, it’s important to get feedback on the proceedings of team-building attempts and get feedback from team members on questions, answers, and concerns. It’s not just about learning from you on how to be involved in a more cohesive workplace group, they need to be able to teach you as well. Feedback helps get the information you need straight from the primary source, the employees, so you can help adjust or alter the tools and resources, and figure out the best team formations to help complete projects with a dedicated and functional group.
Team cohesion is as important as knowing how to budget the companies money. If the employees are working together, it’s harder to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, and purpose of putting people together. Using this small step-by-step guide, you can see what you need to provide and what you need to do to get involved and make team cohesion a priority.