How to develop and maintain a culture of teamwork

To put it bluntly, teamwork is essential. Without teamwork, ideas don’t flow, suggestions are not made and resentment builds. None of those things are conducive to a happy or a productive environment. If you want to have success, then you create and maintain a culture of teamwork. Okay, but how?

Well there is probably no one defined set of rules but there are many steps you can take which will certainly help along the way.

  1. Avoid class distinction. This means that the leaders or managers or bosses, while they have better salaries and more responsibilities than the others, are nevertheless just the same. Aim for an egalitarian workplace where ideas are welcome from all levels within the company.
  2. Open plan offices may work well but open plan thinking works even better. If departments or sections are isolated, teamwork is restricted. By giving anyone and everyone from wherever within the project the opportunity to relate to others you will be fostering the beginnings of teamwork. Remove the ‘them and us’ and foster the ‘us’.
  3. Giving rewards to teams rather than individuals fosters a culture of team work. By announcing credit to a team and a bonus to a team, you are signalling to the entire operation that the management are keen on people pooling their ideas and helping one another. Encourage and support team work.
  4. If you produce any written material about the goals and work practices of the project, put it in writing that teamwork is the method of operation. Talking about it is fine but actually having it set out in black and white reinforces the culture. It’s what you want to stress so stressing it is what is required.
  5. Teach team solving skills. If you want your workers to work together, show them how. Run sessions on how best to solve problems as a team. Once the project is up and running you require all of your staff to do their job easily as a team. You don’t want them sitting around trying to figure out how to work as team.
  6. Hold team meetings. Review progress and if there are problems, discuss them openly. Often this reveals a problem of definition. One team believes they are in control of area X while another team thinks otherwise. Regular meetings should clear up any misunderstandings. Don’t let problems run on and rather get things sorted as soon as possible.
  7. Inject some fun into the work situation. At each team meeting, begin with a fun activity. A team game for 5 or 10 minutes will break the ice and get people communicating on a relaxed and friendly level.
  8. Give team members an item which ties them to the project and to one another. A cap or shirt with the name of the project can engender a feeling of unity and build friendships and camaraderie.

The things you can do to create a culture of teamwork and then maintain this culture are limited only by your imagination. The more you put into your effort to help the ‘team’ the more benefits you will receive.

 

How do you foster team work in your projects?

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  1 comment for “How to develop and maintain a culture of teamwork

  1. KJ Sankar
    January 19, 2012 at 11:56 am

    This is good one and really will help in team building,especially in long term projects.

    Regards
    Jay

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