Renowned basketball coach Phil Jackson once stated that 'the strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.’ Working in a team can inspire, motivate and drive employees, however putting a number of people together into a workplace team doesn’t immediately guarantee success. Far from it, the team must adopt many positive habits and behaviours for it to prove truly effective.
Below are the 10 habits that all workplace teams must inherit if hoping to succeed.
1. Communicate and collaborate
A workplace team, or any team for that matter, can often live and die by how well the teammates communicate with each other. Few things define a team as much as collaboration, and without it, you’re just individuals all working towards your own goals and targets. A successful team will have strong communication running throughout. Everyone is able to freely speak and discuss matters with anyone in the team, and are always happy to hear from their colleagues.
2. Establish goals
Everyone has some variation of a goal when beginning a project or job, but does it correlate with the rest of your team? Though certain team members will have differing targets from others, the entire team must all share an overriding goal. A truly successful team will have the same principal goals, all aiming for the same finish line. If everyone is heading in the same direction, the less chance there is for delays or a project going off track.
3. Acknowledge each other’s strengths
Arguably the greatest advantage of working in a team as opposed to individually is being amongst people with differing strengths and talents. No one is skilled and at the top of their game in every single area. What an effective team needs is a variety of people, many of whom excel in different fields. If someone in your team is more skilled in a certain area than you, don’t be threatened or jealous of this; instead, use it to the benefit of the team and the task in hand.
4. Build a bond
You work together, potentially spending 8+ hours a day with your team. More than likely, you see your teammates more than you see your friends or family. It’s therefore imperative that you build a bond with your colleagues. Successful teams will mesh well when working, but also bond socially too. No one’s saying you need to start spending your weekends and holidays together, but you should actually enjoy having a non-work conversation, going for the occasional drink after work, a monthly team meal etc. If you can build a bond with your colleagues, you will all be driven to see one another and the team succeed.
5. Learn from each other
No matter how experienced you think you are, there’s always room for improvements and adjustments. Surrounding yourself with a diverse and multi-talented team is a great way to learn new things; taking inspiration from teammates, along with offering your own help and advice to them. The best place to learn your craft is on the job, and putting yourself in close quarters with talented and experienced colleagues provides an invaluable platform to both absorb and teach.
6. Be open to bringing in new talent
A successful team will become a tight knit and close group. You build a bond with your colleagues and wouldn’t want to see any of them leave the team or company. You should, however, also encourage new talent into the team. You don’t want to be so close-minded that you’re hesitant in recruiting new people. If a new employee is talented enough and it appears they would gel with the team, why wouldn’t you want them coming aboard?
7. Critique and be honest with each other
No one loves seeing their work receive constructive criticism, yet we know it can often prove extremely helpful. You should be at a comfortable enough level with your team to hand out helpful critiques, and also welcome feedback and not take offence. Your colleagues know you, know what you’re working on, and know what your project goals are, so they'll be able to offer helpful and constructive advice.
8. Trust each other’s decisions
The larger the team, the more decisions that need to be made. You can’t personally always be the one to make the decision and get the final say, and that’s okay. If you trust your teammates and have faith in their decision making, then this shouldn’t be an issue. This is a two-way street however, and if you show faith in your colleagues, they should do the same for you.
9. Continually track progress
No matter how successful a team becomes, they should also be aware that there’s always room for improvement. You should analyse and track the team’s progress, whether that be weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. Here, your team will find its strengths and weaknesses, and become aware of what areas may potentially need improvement.
10. Have fun
When it comes down to it, your team has to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy what they do. A truly effective team will have fun working together, which in turn will lead to a more productive and efficient working environment. Author Dave Hemsath believes that fun may be the single most important trait of a highly effective and successful organisation, with companies presenting a fun-orientated culture offering lower levels of absenteeism, greater job satisfaction, less down time, and increased employee loyalty.
Strength in numbers
A survey conducted by co-working magazine Deskmag found that people who work in a team are more creative, productive and confident. A total of 71 percent of those questioned said they were more creative, 62 percent reported that their standard of work improved significantly and 90 percent said they felt more confident when co-working.
No two teams are exactly the same. Each workplace team has its own individual motivations, targets and primary goals. Whether you’re starting a new team, or have been part of one for a number of years now, implementing these useful habits and behaviours can only aid you and your team in the future.