Five Effective Ways to Encourage Teamwork

By Tess Pajaron, an EO Overdrive contributor and Community Manager at Open Colleges 

Nothing boosts productivity like an efficient and well-organized team. Having employees work in teams has many benefits. It improves their personal satisfaction and confidence, it allows them to better understand their contribution and engage with the company’s goals and promotes a more efficient use of resources, especially time. This is all nice and sound, but how do you actually encourage teamwork at a workplace? Here are five ways to create creative and productive teams:

  1. Building a team

When forming a team, managers should look beyond the skills and qualifications, considering the character and personality traits of each candidate. You need to look for people who will work efficiently with others and promise growth and development when being a part of the team.

Your perfect candidate will know how to commit to a shared goal, be open with their ideas and able to take on different roles in a group in effort to accomplish its goals. They also should know how to listen and respond to others in a non-offensive and productive way. Clearly define the responsibilities of everyone in the team and set shared goals each of the team members should look forward to.

  1. Good leadership

Leadership is perhaps the most important factor in successful team-building. As a leader, you should be patient. Don’t expect people to get on and cooperate swiftly within a few days. At the same time, you should know when to step in. Once the inter-team differences are too intense, you might need to fire someone, especially if the team’s success is in danger.

Great leaders know how to challenge people to contribute and participate, offer positive reinforcement by acknowledging the strengths of each individual, praise the team in appropriate ways and channel that wonderful unifying team spirit.

  1. Communication

As a team leader, you should be open and honest. There’s nothing more damaging to team atmosphere than rumors. Share information and establish trust with each and every team member. Treat everyone in the team fairly and consistently – picking out a favorite will never work to your favor.

  1. Delegating responsibilities

Assigning important or sensitive tasks to every team member shows that you trust them and have faith in their qualifications. Consider it from the perspective of team members – being entrusted with a key responsibility is an instant confidence booster. By carefully observing the work of every team member, you’ll see who are potentially great team leaders or can help you improve your teamwork methodology.

  1. Reward and recognize

Offering rewards and recognition is the best way to improve the productivity of your team. If you want this to really work, organize a special short meeting dedicated to precisely that purpose. Prepare awards for these members who have proven to be indispensable for achieving the team’s success. This is a win-win situation – seeing exceptionally engaged team members awarded will motivate others to put more hard work in achieving the shared goals.

Building a successful team is not a piece of cake, but once you accomplish that, you can be sure to receive a lot in return for your effort.

Tess Pajaron is a Community Manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Business Administration and Management.

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