Teamwork: 10 essential tips that most managers miss

Leon Noon

Teamwork is essential to the success of your business. But there’s a lot more to it than describing your employees as “team members” or using clichés such as “our team is here to help you”.

1. First Step: Focus
You must have a specific and well defined business focus and target market. You can’t expect your teams to help you if you:

  • don’t know exactly “what business you’re in”
  • whom you’re trying to sell to

2. Management Team Dissension

All members of the management team must agree about business focus and target market. Staff will ‘sniff out’ dissension about business goals and markets quicker than you can say ‘marketing’. If management can’t agree about business objectives, employees won’t bother.

3. Imprecise Expectations

Your teams need to know exactly what you expect of them in four areas:

  • as a team
  • as individual team members
  • as teams operating with other teams
  • as team contributors to business success

4. Team Rewards

It is good to reward individual staff who perform well. It’s even better to reward all members of a high performing team. Do you have team rewards and incentives in place?

5. Personality Conflicts

Do you spend time trying to resolve personality conflicts or interpersonal problems when you should be concentrating on the source of such problems; i.e. lack of role and goal clarity?

6. Collaboration Clarity

Do you know for sure which teams need to collaborate most closely for business success? Do you stress the need for effective collaboration between those teams?

7. Inter-team System Compatibility

We all know “if your systems are poor your people will fail”. It’s essential to have systems in place to enable each team to work well. But it’s also essential to have systems in place that enhance effective co-operation between teams.

8. A Culture of Blaming

Phrases such as “it’s not my job”; “Salespeople never provide all the details; “We were late because Jack was away ill”, are indicative of a blaming culture — always looking for a scapegoat or an excuse. They’re also a reliable indicator of poor teamwork. Do you hear them often in your business?

9. Your Role

Are you aware that your role is not only to develop competent and effective individual staff but also competent and effective teams? Do you stress the importance of teamwork and inter-team co-operation? Do you move quickly to defuse inter-team disagreements when they occur?

10. Autonomy

Do you give effective teams the freedom to operate under minimal supervision, make recommendations for changes to systems, have direct contact with customers and generally “run their own race” provided that what they do benefits the business?

ConclusionEven with the best of intentions, managers can unwittingly discourage teamwork by failing to do a lot of little things. These things by themselves may not seem vitally important but altogether, they could distract staff and diminish team effectiveness.

What To Do NowThis article poses many questions. Choose to act on whatever seems most important to you. If you need a particular starting point, I’d suggest that you and your team have a thorough and detailed chat about items 1 and 2.

Reprinted with the permission of Leon Noone. His core business is helping managers in small to medium business improve on job staff performance without training courses. Contact Leon at staffperformancesecrets.com to visit his blog and receive a free copy of his Special Report, 49 Practical Tips for Removing Employee Apathy, Aggravation and Resistance in your Business.


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