Teambuilding used to be a fluffy, nice-to-do activity that only large companies could afford.
Now it’s a competitive advantage, especially for small and mid-size companies. Business owners who pay attention to teambuilding get teams who are committed—and committed team members stick around longer and get more done in less time at less cost.
Without good teamwork, the work takes longer, there are more mistakes, and it costs you more money. Worse, morale and productivity are low and employees leave.
If you have an employee (or two) doing any of these things, it could be a sign that you and your company would benefit from some deliberate and thoughtful teambuilding:
- Stirs the pot
- Does barely enough work to keep his/er job
- Is often sullen or uncooperative
- Doesn’t know what other employees are doing
- Doesn’t trust other employees; when Bob in Sales hands his customer off to Sue in Operations, he doesn’t trust that Sue will take good care of the customer
- Is regularly disrespectful or rude
- Unwilling to resolve conflict
- Produces sloppy work; has little sense of accountability
- Has trouble getting on the same page, often challenges, debates, or argues
- Is quick to judge or blame; holds grudges
- Clearly doesn’t enjoy being there
What does good teamwork look like?
If your team is working together well, team members rely on one another’s’ strengths and don’t hesitate to ask for help. They’re slow to judge or to reach negative conclusions about one another. They offer and accept apologies, forgive and support one another. They focus on common goals and look forward to meetings as a place to share and solve problems. And they seem to enjoy themselves when at work.
In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, author Patrick Lencioni makes a great point–
“…teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that’s been largely untapped. [It’s] almost always lacking within organizations that fail and often present within those that succeed.”.
Lencioni identifies the 5 traits of a dysfunctional team:
- Absence of Trust
- Fear of Conflict
- Lack of Commitment
- Avoiding Accountability
- Inattention to Results
High-performing teams trust one another. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas. They commit to decisions and action plans. They hold one another accountable for delivering on those plans. They focus on the achievement of collective results. And the business prospers because of it.
Two ways to build good teamwork
The good news is that solid teamwork can be accomplished quickly and easily. We’ve seen great success in dozens of companies using Lencioni’s 2 main suggestions:
- Administer a behavior profiling instrument. We like the Myers-Briggs assessment. In a 2-3 hour team meeting, your staff will understand and appreciate one another’s personality differences and perspectives, and they’ll walk away with a handful of specific things they can do to work together even better. Plus, the Myers-Briggs provides a language with which team members can openly discuss their differences and it encourages empathy and cooperation.
- Recreate together. Spring for pizza at lunch or bowling after work. Aim to do something together as a team every one or two months.
When you take these deliberate steps to build good teamwork, you’ll start seeing a greater spirit of cooperation, higher performance, and employees having more fun.