We’ve seen time and again how so much can be gained when several employees work together as a team. Of course, every team needs a strong leader and that’s where you come in. But volumes have been written about how there’s strength in numbers.
Look at it this way. Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced Broadway to shut down, the musical “Hamilton” was the hottest ticket in town. While many people have rightfully recognized creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda as the leader of an amazing and remarkable initiative, the show would never have been possible without the involvement of numerous team members—cast members, producers, backstage crew, musicians, and many others —on the same page and working together toward a common goal. Their work was rewarded in June 2016 when they received no fewer than 11 Tony Awards (out of a record-breaking 16 nominations).
Similarly, in our business life, we can only meet our objectives and achieve our goals when everyone pulls together and contributes their time, talents and energy in a coordinated manner toward each and every project
Here are five tips for fostering teamwork in your company.
1. Know your people.
It’s always good to develop strong professional relationships with your employees, as it helps form a strong bond—not only between you and each employee, but also throughout the entire team. This also helps foster mutual respect. An added benefit of getting to know your team members helps emphasize and solidify your position as the group leader.
2. Assign the right people to the right roles.
This is like laying the foundation for the team. Consider the skills, talents and personalities of everyone involved to ensure that the mix of employees is the correct one for the project. In every company there are a variety of personalities as well. Some people are natural leaders while others are more task-oriented workers. Extroverts and introverts often have skill sets that complement one another’s. These are all things you’ll want to consider.
3. Consider each employee’s strengths.
Realizing that each team member brings different skills to the group, it’s incumbent on you as the leader to figure out how these individual skills can work together to achieve the greatest success. As the team begins to work together and a collegiality forms, you’ll be able to recognize and evaluate who’s more effective at what. You might even find opportunities to modify some roles.
4. Clearly articulate goals and objectives.
It’s essential for every initiative to be clear about what the goals, objectives and expected outcomes are in terms that are as specific as possible. This is one area in which employees really need to understand the big picture and have a strong understanding of how their work will contribute to the intended results. For the team leader, it’s important to explain the “why” as well as be available to answer any questions and to clarify anything that might be not quite understood. This is why I advocate open-door policies for leaders. They help maintain, timely and transparent communication.
5. Be encouraging.
It can’t be said enough that there are leaders and there are bosses with titles, but that a title doesn’t make one a leader. While you need to achieve certain goals and objectives, it’s generally optimal, in my opinion, to serve as a coach rather than as a micromanager, and to encourage and support your team members. Encouragement and the patience it implies will go a long way toward fostering a strong level of teamwork.