You want your employees to act like a team, but it seems they have different idea.
You say “Work together.” They say “Mind your own business.”
You say “Help each other out.” They say “Not my problem.”
You say “Be kind.” They say “Lighten up.”
Before your frustration level reaches the point where you no longer care, I suggest you go to work on the problem. In most cases teamwork doesn’t happen by accident. You need to nudge it along.
Apply these three principles in your group, and notice the effect they have on teamwork.
A winning team needs something that holds it together, a common focus. Goals and objectives provide that focus. Even if team members mostly work independently, they should have at least one objective on which they must work together. Make sure it’s important and achievable.
Every team member has to believe he or she is responsible for the team’s success. For this to happen, people need a stake in the outcome. You create this when you:
- Help each person understand how he or she contributes to the goal.
- Ask for input from team members about what and how things get done.
- Let them work through disagreements and make critical decisions.
- Measure each person’s contribution to achievement of the goals.
- Create team-based reward systems.
Finally, since teamwork is about working together, members need to feel good about each other (at least most of the time). This happens as people get to know one another and trust builds among team members. Your job is to encourage the development of trust and deal with any problems that get in the way.
Image credit: John Spooner