We're all aware of how important teamwork is and how an inspired team, working together toward a clearly defined goal, can accomplish tremendous results. But how do you get all co-workers to pull together and realize they are a vital link in a much bigger picture?
Remember that individuals make a team. Individual contributions add up to the greater whole. Ask for the team's ideas and suggestions and base specific goals on these. Be sure each team member understands his/her role in the overall plan.
Communicate clearly. Present information in an organized, easy-to-follow way. Make it clear; communication within the group is a two-way process. Acknowledge everyone's thoughts, ideas and fears equally. And above all, be honest.
Be a good example. Maintain firm, fair and clearly understood standards. Tackle unpleasant tasks as soon as possible. If criticism is necessary, make it constructive. Keep emotions in check.
Delegate. No one can do everything. Understand which jobs don't need your personal touch and trust them to someone else. Match jobs to skills and abilities, providing necessary training and encouragement. Provide goals and guidelines.
Accept change. Discuss changes - also suggested changes - with your team thoroughly. Reassure team players that the changes are positive, clearly pointing out the benefits. Encourage all members to express their feelings about what's happening and tend to wounded egos appropriately.
Praise with specifics. Focus on performance & behavior and not on the person. Do it regularly and in a timely fasion.
Vera Haitayan, Principal Consultant of The Leadership Laboratory., a California-based employee development and process improvement consulting firm and is the senior editor of The Stepping Stone Newsletter featuring leadership and process improvement best practices.