If your employees are failing to work as a team, it’s time to show them the value of collaboration, says Andre Lavoie, writing for Entrepreneur.
You might regard teamwork as a top priority but do your staff pick up on those values? A recent survey by Corporate Culture Chasm revealed that most employees think leaders want to see competition among staff members.
Demonstrating how an employee’s particular role is integral to the company structure as a whole can shift their mindset significantly. Instead of disengaging from tasks and obstacles when others are involved, they will see how their contribution counts when working within a team.
So, how can you put this into practice and change attitudes to create fully cooperative teams? Try the following five steps:
1) Track individual performance data and give regular feedback. Focus on the importance of the individual’s role and discuss any teamwork issues they have. Even if there are negative elements to your evaluation, if your feedback is antidotal it can be motivating and inspiring.
Lavoie quotes the Zenger Folkman’s 2014 Feedback: The Powerful Paradox study which looked at 2,700 employers and employees and found that 72 per cent of employees said they thought their performance would improve if managers provided corrective feedback.
2) Encourage positive thinking and solution-seeking within teams. Things don’t always go smoothly and it helps to have an optimistic outlook. If negativity and pessimism appear to dominate the collective, it will affect everyone – especially when there is a deadline to meet. Make it your business to shift people’s perspectives; get them to see obstacles as hurdles to overcome rather than roadblocks.
3) Cut things down to size, prioritise and delegate. Break challenges down into manageable tasks and help to collectively define each person’s contribution. Make sure your managers follow your lead and acknowledge and utilise people’s strengths. Setting people up for success is a huge morale booster.
4) Be transparent about performance and progress. Sharing details about your company lets everyone in on the big picture. And, if there are major or difficult changes in the pipeline, employees can be instrumental in forming an effective plan. This shows that you respect and trust your people – and makes it more likely that trust is reciprocated.
As Lavoie explains: “One quarter of the 1,562 workers surveyed for the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey reported that they didn’t trust their employer. Only about half believed their employer was open and upfront with them.”
5) Set up an employee recognition programme. People who feel valued are happier, more engaged and more motivated. Appreciation from your employer is always welcome, but peer acknowledgement of an individual’s success can be even more rewarding in terms of team bonding and productivity. Recognising the importance of a colleague’s contribution can give everyone a boost – including managers.
If your company’s productivity is suffering as a result of poor collaborations, then it’s essential you make the effort to build a more positive environment and structure for each individual to thrive in.