I must admit that “creating a culture of teamwork” is one of those phrases that make me cringe. It just sounds so “touchy-feely” and dated. Still, the results of solid teamwork are simply irrefutable and no good business person would knowingly ignore them.
Perhaps, sometime in the future, I’ll just have to coin my own term to resolve the issue for myself. In the meantime, however, here are six, immediately actionable ways to build a culture of teamwork in your organization:
Owners and Senior Management Must Demand It – In particular, it is essential that these leaders deliver an unmistakable message that teamwork and collaboration across the entire organization is not just encouraged but demanded. In short, no process or project is wholly owned by any one department or manager and all employees should feel free to offer input.
All Managers Must Embrace It for Themselves – Leading by example, all managers, especially the most senior ones, must exemplify the process of teamwork through their interactions with each other and their subordinates. This is easily accomplished when things are “humming along” but must also be followed when things go wrong. In short, do not allow yourself or your team to revert to a top-down, authoritarian style in the midst of a crisis.
Formally Identify It as Important – Great value is placed on mission statements, company values and the like by employees. Each is an excellent place for them – especially if they are new – to get a sense of the company culture. Ensure that “teamwork” is one of your core values and is expressed in these statements.
Identify Success with Teamwork – Every successful work environment has “war stories.” Many, however, only get retold with a single person going in and getting the job done – the value of the team is left unrecognized. As the title of this article states, “no man is an island” and any successes that an individual sees are directly attributable to his support staff as well as himself. Rejigger these anecdotes, in your own telling, to reflect this sensibility and note that the rewards flowed to everyone involved.
Develop Performance Metrics that Encourage Teamwork – Performance metrics – where would we be without them? While they are not the be-all and end-all of effective management they are a vital tool. Ensure that your metrics encourage interaction between your departments and demand mutually supporting roles that are responsive to actual needs.
As you can see, obviously, “creating a culture of teamwork” is also a collaborative effort. You cannot do it by yourself, but as an owner or senior manager, you can certainly lead by example and set up your team for success.