With few exceptions, no business can achieve great things without a team of people behind it — whether it’s a small business with ten employees or a 1000-employee corporation. However, even when everyone wants the business to succeed, working as a team is sometimes easier in theory than it is in practice. Improve company teamwork and your business will accomplish more goals faster.
Hire a Professional Speaker
The first thing on your to-do list to change your company’s view of teamwork should be to hire a professional to speak on the topic of teamwork and to lead team exercises. Expert speakers have studied teamwork at a variety of companies and continue to consult with academics about the most effective strategies. They can tailor their presentations specifically to your company and come up with team building exercises suited for the size of your company and your specific goals.
In addition to hiring a speaker to present specifically on teamwork in the workplace, you can hire speakers who are experts on other topics relevant to your company’s goals. For example, if you want to improve teamwork because you want to improve innovation, ask for an expert on innovation to give a presentation and then lead team-building activities.
Appoint Qualified Leaders
Once the speaker has visited and given his or her suggestions, you and your employees should have a good idea how to proceed from there. Every team is only as good as its leader, so appoint qualified experienced leaders to preside over departments or individual projects.
Effective leaders are not only educated and experienced, but they show a willingness to work with their teams. They should be a part of the team and lead from inside it. They don’t dictate orders, they lead discussions. Effective team leaders listen to what their team has to say, impartially moderate disagreements and make sure everyone stays on top of their assigned tasks.
Hold Fun Team-Building Experiences
All work and no play doesn’t lead to productivity. Let teams bond and build rapport outside of work. Hold a team activity outside work hours, such as a sports game or a trip to the nearest theme park. You can even let the team work on a fun, non-work-related activity during work hours, as long as it helps them practice working as a team. For example, your team might organize a fundraising event for a charity on behalf of the company.
Hear Both Sides of Disagreements
If one person in a team feels like someone else in the team has more sway, the team can’t work as a unit. It’s important that leaders hear both sides of disagreements, even if they already side with one person over another. If you make snap judgments, you discourage free thinking, which stifles creativity and productivity.
If both sides of an argument can make compelling arguments for their ideas, everyone will learn from the experience of weighing the pros and cons of one idea against the other. When you come to a decision — as a team — as to which idea to follow, everyone will feel like he or she had a fair chance.
Put the Right Number of People on Teams
One of the most overlooked mistakes when it comes to putting together teams is their size. Make sure there aren’t too many or too few people on a team in accordance with the project. For example, if you put fifty people on a team, it will be difficult for every individual to have his or her voice heard. On the other hand, if you put together a team of five when a team of ten is needed, everyone will feel overwhelmed because they have twice the work.
According to an interview published on the Harvard Business Review, teamwork only works when there’s a rapport among the team members and they understand what the team’s goal is. It’s important you take a step back and re-examine how your company approaches team projects. Improve teamwork, and your employees with accomplish tasks faster, more confidently and more effectively.
About the Author: John Yanez is the owner and operator of a small business. He recommends Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau to other businesses looking for professional speakers on important topics such as teamwork.