Teamwork in the Workplace:
How to Get Everyone Working Together

Strong teamwork in the workplace doesn't always occur automatically but it is an essential element of a successful business. No matter how great you are, if you've got a big vision for your business, you simply can't do it on your own. 

"In the end, business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you've got a good team you can't do much with the other two" Lee Iacocca

It is useful to define exactly what a team is.

Just because a bunch of individuals happen to work for you it doesn't necessarily mean there is good teamwork going on. 

When there is good teamwork in the workplace the people within it collaborate to achieve a common goal.

Fostering a culture of teamwork in the workplace

Once you get a great team in place the difference to your business will be substantial. Even if you've had several staff for a while, it's never too late to employ some team building techniques to foster better cooperation.

Unfortunately some businesses are not set up to foster a good team culture.

Real estate businesses are an example where salespeople are often treated as individuals and not incentivized to work together.

Very often they have one particular outstanding employee who achieves considerably greater sales than the rest of the team. However, because of the way the targets and compensation system is structured they keep their secrets to success to themselves rather than sharing with their team mates.

As a business owner, you may rely on this star performer to bring in revenue but their presence generally causes resentment in the rest of the team.

And, of course, it means you've got all your eggs in one basket. It makes your business a little vulnerable if you're heavily reliant on one particular staff member because they could leave one day and take all their valuable knowledge with them.

You may need to weigh up the benefits of this kind of incentive system vs. the potential costs to your business because there will be very little sharing of knowledge, experience and skills between employees.

Do the culture, values and systems in your business support people to work as a team?

Team vision

The first step towards developing teamwork in the workplace is to get your team together in a meeting to jointly develop a team identity, vision and goals.

Click here to find out more about how to conduct an 'Aligning Teams' meeting.

Either follow this structure if you're doing it yourself or else get a business coach to facilitate it for you.

This is a good opportunity to share your vision for the business. A common mistake amongst small business owners is explaining all the technical aspects of a job to staff without sharing the bigger picture of where the business is headed.

Treat them as people, not as a commodity

Some business owners consider their main responsibility to their staff is to pay them. In other words they treat them as a commodity – ‘I give you this amount of money for this amount of work’.

But people are obviously far more complex than that. If you want the people in your business to shine, and more importantly, to shine together, they need to be treated as assets. 

Here are a few more steps towards developing teamwork in the workplace:

  • Share your business goals and vision
  • Allow every individual to shine and contribute to the businesses' growth
  • Give credit to your employees and acknowledge them for their efforts
  • Actively encourage your employees' personal and professional growth
  • Allocate roles that suit individual personalities (and allow them to change roles to follow their preferences)
  • Create clearly defined job descriptions and lines of responsibility
  • Have regular staff meetings
  • Harness intelligence from your team members

Business Coaching Questions:

  • How good is the teamwork in the workplace in your business?
  • What challenge could you set your team to stretch them further?
  • In what ways are you investing in your team's professional and personal development?

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