5 Tips to Improve Team Culture

What do the The Avengers, X-Men, the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Royals have in common? They are all examples of individuals combining their talents to achieve a common goal.  Teamwork produces victory in sports and in the world of fiction, and can help you do the same in business.

Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than yourself.  When you take a group of independently talented people and create a team in which they can merge their talents, not only will a remarkable amount of energy and creativity be released, but their performance, loyalty and engagement will be greatly improved.

Implementing a positive and successful team environment can be challenging. Following are 5 tips to building or improving an extraordinary team culture in your company.

  1. Define Roles and Responsibilities. Make it clear that collaboration is expected from all employees. Define roles and responsibilities within the team. Every team member should understand their position and what is required of them. In a collaborative environment every team member takes responsibility for good outcomes.
  2. Assign serious team goals. Setting goals is incredibly important to success. UT Lady Vols Coach Emeritus Pat Summit recommends setting goals that stretch your team and require exceptional effort, but are attainable. “If you set a goal that seems impossible to achieve— if you go into a year saying your goal is to win the national
    championship—then you risk losing morale, self-discipline and chemistry if you falter early,” Summit said. It’s the same in business.
  3. Encourage healthy competition. Competition elevates your play, individually and as a team because you’re always striving to beat the other person. Competition forces you to be a little more aggressive in your learning and in your knowledge because you want to be better, you’re competing against your peers and the other team members.  “If you’re doing something on your own, even when you’re practicing on your own, it’s not nearly as  competitive as  it is when you’re in a scrimmage,” said Management Solutions President Misty Mayes. “I try to replicate that in my business. “
  4. Cross-train employees. When employees understand how different areas of the company work, they are more apt to make decisions that benefit the company as a whole, rather than solely their own department or group. Give your employees the opportunity to learn other people’s jobs. And don’t forget your managers. Have top executives spend a few days working on the front lines with customers or directly with your product. They’ll have a new appreciation for what employees go through on the job.
  5. Get out of the office and have fun. Team building activities can bolster a team’s work, provide a great way for a company to help the community, and rejuvenate your workforce. Take care to avoid putting employees in embarrassing or uncomfortable situations. One option for an out-of-the-office team building activity is to volunteer as a company for a charitable cause in the community. Research suggests that participating in volunteer activities outside of the office can help employees recover from work and come back re-energized.

“Our employees are scattered at various locations embedded in client teams,” said Randy Inklebarger from MSTI Technologies. “We build our corporate team environment through community outreach.  We have a Charitable Contributions Committee comprised of volunteer employees and managed by our HR Manager.  The committee makes recommendations for company contributions then pairs that company money with employee donations or sweat equity.  Often the sweat equity involves team building activities such as constructing a Habitat House or riding in the Tour de Cure.”

Other options include fitness or sport activities, and mind-challenging adventures, like the currently popular escape room adventures, such as Breakout Knoxville, that encourage groups to work together to escape the room before time runs out.

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Bridget Waller

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