It doesn’t matter what aspect or area of life you’re looking at: Good teamwork works every time. Even talented athletes or a world-class musicians who possess a great gift have a large dedicated team behind them that allows them to do what they do best. There’s no area of life where great teamwork is not essential.
When it comes to your business, leadership in your company, and managing your teams, this same level of professional and compatible teamwork is vital to your success. There are many approaches you can take when building a team culture, and what works for one business might not work for another.
With this in mind, let’s explore some of obstacles and challenges you may come across when building a team culture and some strategies you can try implementing.
Is Anything Wrong with My Team Culture?
If you’re in charge of a team, you may think everything is fantastic, and you don’t need to improve anything. You have team culture down to a science. Unfortunately, if you’re thinking like this, then you probably have the most problems. Developing and maintaining a team culture is an ongoing process where you never really reach an endpoint where everything is perfect.
Things change all the time, and you need to be always looking out for ways to improve and address any problems that arise. The best thing to do is the look for the signs of “bad” team culture, that include:
- The Boss Is the Boss
If you have an “I’m the boss” attitude, this immediately suggests a poor team culture because there’s a power divide. Sure, every team needs a leader to delegate and organize things, but that doesn’t mean the leader is better than everyone else on the team. Is a football coach for a country the best footballer player in the team? No, the players have the skill. The leader just brings it all together in a way that works.
Instead, you need to ensure everyone in the team feels equal. At the end of the day, bosses are made with experience, not born from default. “I’m the boss” attitudes are the #1 way to create a lousy team culture.
- You Make Savings on Staff
A pivotal point to consider, if you “make savings on staff” and implement staff cutbacks, guess who’s not going to feel safe in your business and won’t feel like a valued part of the team? That’s right—nobody in your business. If you don’t feel safe in a team, that’s bad team culture.
“There are a few things to consider here, such as paying fair wages and treating your staff well. If you’re not looking after the people in your team, they’re not going to want to work for you,” says Michelle Adams, an HR manager at Assignment Writers and OXEssays.
- Competition that’s Aggressive, Not Fair
A great way to boost productivity in the team is to have a competition between the people in it. As long as this is friendly competition and people want to be involved, this is fine. However, too much aggression in the competition can easily put people off and divide the team.
Competition that is too aggressive can lead to people working for themselves, rather than working as a team. When everyone is out for themselves, the team culture disappears, and everything falls apart.
- The General Vibe
Do you find your team is constantly arguing, falling out, backstabbing, and not getting along? Are you experiencing problem after problem and nothing seems to be working? Clearly, these are signs that something is wrong.
You need to ensure your team culture promotes respect for one another, and the team members treat each other as human beings. Otherwise, this will lead to burnout and a low team retention rate that will only amplify your existing problems.
How to Improve Your Team Culture
If you can address those noted pitfalls in your team culture, you’ll be well on your way to developing a team that works together, has a high satisfaction rate, and gets lots done. However, addressing the problems isn’t the only thing you need to work on. You also need to be proactive in making things better. Here’s how:
- Communication Is Everything
If you’re ever looked up how to improve things with your spouse or partner or to help you have the best relationship you can, the top point is always communication. The same applies here. I know this is a common talking point, so I won’t go into it too much, but just to cover the key points: Talk to your team, and, most importantly, listen to them. Whether you’re talking to your teams individually or having a quick sit-down or meeting, the best way to communicate is to listen to everyone else first, give them a chance to voice their concerns or problems, take steps to address these issues, and then say your point. You don’t need to over-communicate, but rather optimize your communication to be effective.
- Develop Common Goals
When building a team culture, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals. If not, then the members of your team are not going to align with the work they do, and it’s all going to collide at some point or another.
As a leader, you need to ensure everyone can see the bigger picture and works toward it.
- It’s All About Training
While you’re probably going to hire people based on their ability to do the job, this isn’t necessarily the full picture. More often than not, you’re hiring someone due to their ability to do the job now, and their potential to do it better in the future. But this future capability is something that needs to be nurtured.
When working with new employees, you need to make sure you’re bringing them up to standard with your own standards so everyone is on the same page, but you also need to be proactive in improving everyone. Not only will you get more out of your staff, which can benefit your business, but the people on your team will feel valued because you’re investing in them. This is one of the best ways to build team culture.
By building a team culture that centers around, or at least prioritizes, learning, you can help to create and motivate your team to always aim higher while boosting the desire for them to want to be the best versions of themselves—not just as individuals, but as part of the team.
- Use the Latest Technology
There are plenty of tools out there you can use to help bring your team together in many different ways, whether this is using reward systems, better organizing systems and tasks, or improving communication. Whatever area you want to improve, there are tools out there to help you do it.
“Take improving communication, for example. If you use applications such as Brosix—an instant messaging platform available on all devices—you can easily ensure everyone can stay in touch easily, and nobody is left out of anything important,” shares Jenny Harris, a journalist at UKWritings and Academized.
- Provide Feedback in Every Way
Before covering this point, it’s important to make sure you don’t take this as “giving feedback on everything.” The key to giving good, progressive feedback is about not making the process complicated, and ensuring it has impact and will deliver and create positive results, whether it is seen as positive or negative feedback.
There’s no right or wrong way to delivering feedback, and the fact is that no two people will receive it in the same way. That’s why it’s important to get to know your team members (more on this later) and see how to approach giving feedback.
For example, if someone has made a mistake and a client order is wrong, you can’t just berate someone because they made a mistake. Some people in this position may need you to go through the process with them to figure out what they did wrong and what they can do better next time.
On the other hand, someone else might have genuinely just overlooked something and is experienced enough to not have the mistake happen again—it was just a small oversight, and giving them too much feedback could be seen as condescending and could cause a divide in the team dynamic. Adjust your approach to feedback accordingly.
- Develop and Nurture Trust
Trust is what the best teams are built on, and without it, your teams will be nothing. I mean it.
Imagine you’re a world-class athlete, and you have your managers, trainers, coaches, and business-savvy team. If you can’t trust your team to handle things on your behalf—whether that’s exercise routines, workouts, marketing and responsible brand deals—you could end up in a position that ruins your career for good.
“Scale this back down to your own teams. If your team members can’t trust that you’re doing the right thing and keeping your team in mind, they won’t work well for you,” shares Scarlett Farrow, a writer at Boomessays and Top Essay Services. “Let’s say there’s a problem. Your team can’t trust you to not go to the higher-ups and tell that something is wrong without blaming them, so instead, they just don’t tell you and try and fix it themselves.
“This then leads into a whole string of other problems and issues, pushing the original problem deep under a veil of other problems, and you have a big mess on your hands where everyone is in the mud,” she continues. “Big problems like this can be avoided with trust. Instead, if your team members can come to you with the trust that you’re going to help them sort it out, rather than throwing them under the bus, the problem can be resolved, and everyone can carry on as normal.”
- Remember that It’s Not All About Work
Another key point you’ll need to think about is making sure that you don’t interact with your team on just a work, work, work basis. This is important because you don’t want to engrave the idea into the minds of your team that you’re only ever going to interact with them about work as this means there’s a lack of a strong interpersonal connection.
The best leaders will take time to get to know the members of their team and the things in their lives, such as family, the things they do outside of work, their likes and dislikes, and anything they have going on. This creates a much more casual but connected relationship with the members of the team, and it will bring so much more out of team members—much more than you can ever realize.
This is because you’ll understand everybody, what makes them tick, and what motivates and inspires them. Don’t forget to celebrate birthdays, promotions, and other life events, and encourage them to be the best they can be in all they do.
Beatrix Potter is a writer at Top Australian writing services and Assignment Writing Service. Potter writes about team-building strategies; she also is an online proofreader at Top assignment writing services in Queensland website.