According to Harvard Management Update, "high functioning teams are what makes high-performing companies click." If it seems like the team work you're trying to implement in your company isn't sticking, here are five tips that you can use to improve team productivity.
1.) Make time for the team to come together:
When you first have a team put together, hold an ‘ice-breaker', whether it is taking everyone out for lunch or making a Starbucks run in the middle of the day. Find a quiet place to talk, be open about personal lives and business experiences. It's important to establish a rapport with everyone. Teams have to trust each other otherwise there will be anarchy and you can't trust someone if you don't know them.
2.) Diversify your team:
There's nothing better in a team environment than the feeling of learning something new. That is, after all, part of the reason why teams should be encouraged. Working together requires you to put aside any old feelings between co-workers and to open your eyes to a new perspective. No two people have the same thought process, and if two heads are better than one then there's a pretty good chance that four heads are better than three.
3.) Establish duties:
Within diversity everyone has their own strengths. Encourage openness so that there can be an exchange of ideas and each person's strengths can be used to the fullest. Communication and ideas will flow because you have specific people in charge of specific parts of a functioning team. Use Dr. Meredith Belbin's team roles as a model for what kind of responsibilities need to be assigned.
4.) Share Past Successes
Ever thrown some stuff into a pot, heated it up, and waited for what came out? Teamwork is a lot like that, throwing these different styles and kinds of people into a group and telling them that they have to make something happen. Open up with each other and share any experiences or success that you think could be a positive contribution to the team. Even if you have a member who was recently hired or fresh out of college, they surely have something to contribute to your group. Take some time at the beginning of your first meeting together and share what you're good at.
5.) Be a Great Mentor
If you're a team leader this should be your cardinal rule. Think of that old cliché, "There is no poor question than the one that is not asked." As a mentor and developer you need to remember that. You should have a wide variety of age groups and experience levels on your team and remember that there was a time when you had to ask all the questions too. Be patient and understanding; remember that every question leads to a better answer and possibly a breakthrough.
Posted by Maranda Gibson, Account Specialist