We’ve all had our share of experiences working in a toxic environment and now that you are in a position to put your own team together, you’ll hopefully draw on those bad experiences in order to achieve a highly-productive and collegial team of employees.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to create a team that is more than the sum of its parts.
Foster an atmosphere of safety and trust
Effective collaboration is built on ideas, which means you must build an atmosphere where people can volunteer their ideas without fear of being judged.
If someone working on a team feels like their ideas always get shot down or even mocked, they aren’t going to speak up, even if they have a million dollar idea.
Make an effort to give every idea your team offers a fair hearing and assessment. Don’t just pay lip service to the notion that “there are no bad ideas” – actually put that idea to practical use.
Encourage open communication
An effective leader also encourages a culture where people are permitted to talk openly.
While you don’t want to invite disrespect, feedback within your team should be a two-way street and highly encouraged.
You should also ensure essential information is always available and free flowing. Let your team know about any goals, expectations or performance metrics so you can hold each other accountable.
By spreading knowledge and decision-making with your team, you are modeling transparency, which builds trust and morale for everyone, over time.
Establish a culture of “giving”
All too often, teams fall into the trap of “tit for tat” collaboration, or, “if you do this for me, then I’ll do that for you.”
Always having to keep score regarding who owes who a favor can be a drain on your team that leads to hostility if someone is seen as being behind in the favor count.
To avoid this pitfall, you should be encouraging a culture of giving – where team members, including yourself, are expected to give without expecting anything in return. As a leader, you can set an example by giving your employees the gifts of your time and mentoring. Building this culture of giving also has the added effect of tamping down counterproductive competition within the team.
Practice what you preach
Employees will be much less likely to collaborate if they see their leaders take a go-at-it-alone approach to their work.
Be sure that you are supporting your fellow managers or company executives whenever you can. Learn what your colleagues do in their jobs so you can pitch in or even step into their shoes if something comes up.
It is important to note that your team should see you collaborating with other managers. This visibility drives home the sense of a collaborative community.
At Action Group Staffing, we understand that building a highly productive team starts with having the right people in place. If you are currently looking to enhance your team, please contact us to find out what solution we have in store.