5 Ways To Maximize Teamwork and Productivity
Teamwork makes the dream work. The saying is more than just a catchy rhyme. Study after study has shown that effective teamwork improves performance, morale, and allows both individuals and companies reach their biggest potential. However, there are "secrets" to creating teams that have the power to do just that. Here are 5 steps to maximize teamwork on your team, in the office, or at home.
1. Build Relationships with a Diverse Group of People
It is human nature to be attracted to people that are "like us". However, building an effective team requires a diverse group of people. A more diverse group of people leads to more diverse perspectives and ideas. When we surround ourselves with like minded individuals, many solutions may never even pop into our minds. However, having a team of different minded people allows for collaboration which can maximize potential.
2. Encourage Each Member on Your Team To Lead
Teamwork is ineffective without a leader. However, encourage each member of your team to lead from his or her seat. Most projects, assignments, or meetings have multiple parts and paths. Encourage each member of your team to lead in an area they feel passionate or strongly about. Company cultures are evolving. The "top" was once the only perceived place that you could create change. More and more, individuals at all levels are learning they can have an impact on the culture of their team, workplace, and leadership. When people are empowered with a voice, they will in turn be more likely to expand that power by increased participation and confidence in trying new things or proposing new ideas.
3. Recognize, Praise, and Repeat
Shawn Achor provides an outline on how to magnify the power of praise in his book, Big Potential. His six strategies are: stop comparison praise, spotlight the right, praise the base, democratize praise, unlock the Hidden 31, and don't just praise the outcome; praise to an outcome.
The education available to coaches highlights these points again and again. It is human nature to recognize and point out what people are doing wrong. However, the more we point out what is wrong, the more likely we are to see that "wrong" behavior again. Just as should be done when coaching, it is our job to point out what is going well within our team. Comparison praise devalues the praise itself. Focusing on what is being done right inspires more "right" behavior.
Did you know that positivity is contagious? If one member of your team starts praising others, it is likely that the praise will have a ripple effect. The more members of your team praising others, the more people are receiving praise. The cycle will continue and have a very positive impact on your team.
4. Quiet the Noise
Even the best teams have distractions to manage in order to retain their productive status. When working on a project or preparing as a team, you can take steps to minimize the noise around you. Try turning off notifications on your mobile device, canceling meetings that repeat weekly without a unique purpose, and find a way to combat the negative news you hear from media sources or those around you. Believe it or not, the negative information that we take in affects our productivity.
Consider a gratitude routine each day to help combat the negativity that surrounds us. Write down three things you are grateful for each morning or evening. Other ideas include driving in silence for 5 to 10 minutes on your way to or from work or finding a few minutes in your day to meditate or just listen to your breathing. Simple rituals that help re-center us make for a more positive, therefore, more productive day.
5. Use Your Momentum
When things are going well, how do we get them to continue? There are several ways to spur positive momentum into breakthrough moments. First, give your team meaning. Teams that have purpose beyond the project at hand are inspired for what comes next. Share with your team the purpose of each step in the process and the impact that the team can have. Second, visualize where your team is heading. Have your team use vivid imagery to visualize different paths to success instead of the "what ifs" that end in failure. Third, celebrate the wins... all of them. Each success in the project should be celebrated in some way. Small steps might lead to small celebrations, but pausing to recognize progress motivates teams to keep pushing forward.
In conclusion, effective teams are made up of a diverse group of people that has a mutual respect for one another. Allowing each member of the team to have a voice, and using that voice to praise other members, creates synergy. Minimizing the distractions and negativity around your team will allow you to quiet the noise and hit your stride. Now keep the momentum rolling!