While a degree of friendly competition among staff members can be healthy, a business profits most when everyone is working together smoothly as a team. Emphasizing the value of teamwork and encouraging your staff to collaborate as they focus on a common team goal helps maximize their effectiveness. Here's how to do it:
Life is a team sport
To get some idea of the value of collaboration in the workplace, consider a team sport. To win a baseball game, the pitcher and the position players all have to excel in their roles. Traditionally, pitchers are not expected to be good hitters, but they certainly appreciate and encourage production from their teammates who are paid to swing the bat.
The value of teamwork is recognized by all players as they work together toward something bigger — the common team goal of winning the game.
The workplace also requires recognizing and appreciating the value of teamwork, but getting the entire staff to come together and work toward a common, big-picture goal is sometimes easier said than done.
The value of teamwork: better results
Moving to this mode of working can be an adjustment for managers and employees. Business owners and managers are often more comfortable with the one person/one project method of defining job functions and distributing responsibilities. Try to remember that individuals working together can produce more and achieve better results than if they worked independently on a project.
"There is no 'I' in team," the old saying goes, but that's only half the story. Effective managers in the office, just like effective baseball managers, know the importance of keeping team harmony and putting people in positions where they can succeed.
By getting a good handle on the strengths and weaknesses of each employee, managers can assign tasks, duties and responsibilities more effectively, all while emphasizing the value of collaboration, mutual support and team cohesion. There may not be an "I" in team, but there is most certainly a "we" in well-balanced. Successful teamwork balances employees' skills with the needs of the organization, resulting in a winning environment for the entire company.
Communicating the value of collaboration
For their part, employees who are used to working independently may be concerned that their contributions will be overlooked or that coworkers will be more of a hindrance than a help. To ease any reservations staff members may have, discuss the value of teamwork and guidelines and goals for working collaboratively. When all individual employees are at their best, the whole team reaps the benefits.
It's also important to remember that teamwork doesn't just benefit the organization; collaboration can also increase job satisfaction and lead to better results. Working in teams allows your staff more opportunities to release their creative ideas and offers a greater sense of belonging.
By emphasizing the value of teamwork and the importance of collaboration, effective managers simultaneously put the spotlight on the importance of individual contributions. When employees understand that everyone else can be more effective in their roles when they do a good job themselves, the value of collaboration soon becomes self-evident to everyone involved. As that happens, teamwork begins to take care of itself as each individual sees the benefits inherent in giving their personal best in collaborative endeavors.