Team-building is a fantastic way to get employees and team members to bond. As we’ve covered before, having a well-bonded team which works well together is essential to getting great business results. And the best way to kick-start this is to do some intensive team building. A team building course can help your employees get to know each other, to intuitively understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses, to like and respect one another. However, team building doesn’t have to end once the course is over. If you want to preserve and enhance team unity, here are a few ideas you can try on a more day-to-day basis:
One of the best ways that you can preserve team unity is to keep an eye out for developing issues. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be constantly scrutinizing and questioning your team - simply that you should make an effort to involve yourself in your team’s dynamic and culture. The more immersed in your team’s dynamic you are, the more you’ll be aware of anything which is throwing that dynamic off. And spotting problems early is half the battle in solving them.
Create A Supportive Environment
If you want a happy, unified team, you need to make people feel that they’ll be listened to and aided when they are experiencing tough times. Rather than penalizing people for things like the occasional off day, let them know that you understand that they’re human, and that they can turn to their team members for help if needed. People who feel under pressure to hide ‘weaknesses’ from their colleagues suffer far more from workplace related stress than others - and that in turn leads to a pronounced drop in happiness, motivation, and (ultimately) productivity. While some problems - substance abuse, for example - may need a certain amount of outside therapy, and may require an absence from work, for many problems, providing a supportive environment in which people do not feel judged or afraid for their jobs when going through hard times will pay dividends in team unity and workplace satisfaction.
Don’t Stamp On Respectful Dissent
If you have a workplace situation in which one person (or a group of people) come up with all the suggestions, and nobody else says anything, it might be time to have a look at why this is occurring. Rather than assuming that the ‘ideas people’ are simply the best and brightest you have, take a peek at how dissent and differing voices are dealt with in discussions. Often, people simply stop speaking up when the strongest voices in the group shout them down should they offer a differing opinion. Not only does this prevent all relevant viewpoints from being heard, it also deals a heavy blow to team unity - fostering resentment and feelings of inferiority. Make sure that people feel able to respectfully put forward dissenting opinions during discussion, and that all of your employees are using good listening skills as much as they possibly can.
Nobody likes to spend their work hours hovering around either with nothing to do, or unsure of what they should be doing. Once you’ve begun a project, ensure that everyone is aligned, is happy with what you’re doing, and is happy with their own role in this. Once everyone knows what they’re doing, they’ll feel a certain amount of control, and confidence. Not knowing what you’re doing, or what your role is, creates insecurity. Insecurity creates anxiety, which creates stress, which creates irritability, which creates disharmony within the team dynamic. Not to mention frustration on the part of those who think that others should be doing something they’re not. Clarity is a seriously important part of any workplace dynamic - and one which is too often neglected by employers!
Don’t Be Distant
One of the best things about a good team is that people will feel confident and able to get on with their jobs relying on the support of their team members, without constant recourse to management. However, management support is always needed as a fallback. Even if you never actually have to step in, knowing that you’re involved and available will really help to foster confidence. This is particularly true if you take the time to make each team member feel welcome, appreciated, and as though they belong. So don’t be aloof - involve yourself!
by Emma Crosby