business teamwork image by Andrey Kiselev from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>
The virtues of teamwork are well documented. Morale, productivity and profitability are all enhanced when everyone is on the same page working for a common goal. Preaching and extolling its merits is commendable, but in order for teamwork to thrive, it needs to be nurtured in a favourable environment. By extension, your business also benefits.
In order to have everyone efficiently working together, you need to lay the proper groundwork. If the foundation and training aren't there, then no amount of hyperbolic boosterism will right the ship later on. From the beginning, the core values of teamwork need to be instilled. Team building exercises, such as situational scenarios, ropes courses and games, are an effective way to do this.
Establish clearly defined roles for each and every team member, as this gives him a sense of purpose. However, it is important that he knows where his specific job falls in relation to the big picture. Too much tunnel vision can lead to the "not my problem" effect, which is obviously counterproductive to teamwork.
Some workers are more skilled than others, and some tasks are harder than others. Impatience can be divisive, which is the last thing you want. Remind yourself that you are all working towards a common goal, and offer a helping hand instead of criticism or judgment.
Schedule regular meetings to ensure that everyone is still on the level. This can be done as a group or in private, as long as constructive feedback and an open dialogue are the letter of the law. Being proactive and stopping problems before they start not only helps your business, it also strengthens teamwork in the sense that you know that everyone worked together.
By this point, everyone is presumably sold on working together for the greater good. However, it doesn't hurt to add extra, performance-based perks here and there, as long as they are for the entire group. Individual awards can sometimes lead to team members creating their own agenda and losing focus. But when everyone stands to benefit, with no individual axes to grind, productivity increases.
- business teamwork image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com