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Fostering team spirit at your workplace
People are the life of any organization. As managers and leaders, we can’t avoid people; we need to work with them. Here is a look at what are some of the things you can do to build a strong team, foster camaraderie and ensure that your team is effective in delivering and is a team that wins!
"Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it . . . ; Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine."— David Ogilvy
- Know your team- first things first, as a team lead; you need to get to know each and every member of your team and that too get to know them well. Be social. You should be able to point out the likes and dislikes, interests, drive and ambition of every individual. What bogs them down and what propels them to perform at par excellence. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team members helps you to channelize these qualities in the right manner and for the right purpose.
- Use the talents of your team- after you have recognized and recorded the various likes and dislikes of your team members, you can now make the best use of your human capital. Some one likes to work on new opportunities, give him that chance, another prefers working alone and is process oriented, assign tasks to him that demand those attributes. Most of us like to succeed, as a team leader your job is to set up your team members to be successful in what they do. Hence, making sure they are responsible for tasks or assignments that match their personas is something every manager should strive to do. It may not be possible all the time, but a good manager makes the effort to do so.
- Be fair- None of us likes to be cheated or wronged. It can be the worst thing to happen if your manager wrongs you or doesn’t treat you fairly. Often times you come across selfish managers who take credit for the work you completed or sideline you for what you accomplished. This is the worst quality a leader can have. A good leader never does this. Being unfair creates animosity within the team and fosters bitterness. You don’t want negativity within your team members. Treat all equal and give credit as it is deserved. Never stomp over the laurels of your team members or feel threatened by their individual success. Instead be proud of what a team member has accomplished and share it with others!
- Be encouraging- Although we live in a time of individualism and where each one is to his own, being a team manager means you need to pep up your folks. Don’t be shy to communicate and talk it out. Most importantly, encourage your team members; make them believe they can do what they have been asked to do. While providing them the necessary resources to accomplish their tasks, you also need to foster a can-do environment and provide them with confidence to carry out the work. Encouragement sometimes is what is needed to bridge the gap between thinking you can do it and getting it done!
- Team Newsletter- If you have a large enough team, it is a good idea to have a monthly newsletter. Sometimes the pace of work keeps everybody working in their own silos and not knowing what is happening with others in the team. Communication and sharing of news is always a good idea and having a team newsletter serves just this purpose. You can assign this task to maybe one or more members of your team who have a flair for writing and creativity. One can share team progress, monthly metrics, events, pictures, best practice sharing and more in the newsletter. This is also a way of letting other teams and leadership aware of your teams work.
- Team Display Board- Depending on work type, one can also have a team board which displays various things about the team such as the Organization Chart, team monthly metrics or targets, team accomplishments, team process charts, team quality standards, team responsibility calendar, pictures, etc. This is another feel good factor promoting team spirit and making team members proud of their work and the team they belong to. Team boards can be placed near where the entire team sits or at a place where lots of people traverse by. Creating visibility and promoting your team is the key idea by having a team board.
- Celebrate! It is a great idea to keep a tab on team members’ birthdays, anniversaries, joining dates etc. Congratulate and if possible have cake cutting for your team members on their important days. Team members always feel good, when people at work remember these personal days and celebrate it, it enhances the sense of belonging and camaraderie. You can appoint a celebration spoc (single point of contact) who maintains the team celebration calendar and ensures communicating and taking care of logistics of ordering a cake, setting a time for all team members to get together for a short while and celebrate their team member’s special day.
- Promote your team members in Organization wide initiatives – as a manager, you are aware of events and projects that are occurring in the organization. Use this knowledge to see if there is a possible fit between what your team members’ interests are and if there is an opportunity for you to either move them to other positions within an organization or take on additional responsibility. This is a way to promote the skills in your team as well as at a higher leadership level, you will be recognised as a manager who thinks above and beyond in the interests of the organization. It helps build your credibility as a leader.
- Team Events & Outings – occasionally, try to set a rhythm for team get togethers, lunches or dinners, have a picnic with family included etc. This is another way of getting to know your team members better and outside the realm of work. It fosters a community feeling and a sense of togetherness which rubs off when the team is working together towards a common goal or target at the workplace. Families being involved in office outings, appreciate the inclusion and feel a part of what their family members are involved in at their jobs. Some organizations promote this culture by having annual award nights where the employee is allowed to bring one family member to attend.
- Reward – last but not the least, as a team leader you must see that hard work and great efforts are appreciated and rewarded. Either the company has a portal or a channel of rewarding deserving employees; if not, invest a bit of your own in rewarding your team members. This makes them feel special and even though it might be small, boosts their morale and makes their accomplishment more worthwhile. Recognition is important to every human being!
While there are many more things you can do to make your team a winning team, the key is to fuel their fires and harness their energy and talents while also ensuring that they are happy in doing what they do every day and that they are proud of being part of your team and your organization.