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Teamwork in the Workplace Requires a Team Ready to Work 

Teamwork in the workplace is as desired by managers as Christmas to a youngster.  It’s a fine goal.  We accomplish far more working together than by ourselves.  In Africa, they say, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  By yourself,  your own talents won’t take you where you want to go.

Teamwork in the workplace sounds easy.  After all, people gather together for a common goal – to create products, sell products  or to give customers service after a sale so they’ll continue to buy more.

Managers and employees meet.  Brainstorm ideas.  Then, together, make those ideas happen.  But, as we all know, the process isn’t seamless.  Teamwork in the workplace doesn’t just…happen.  It takes thought, a pervasive positive morale, a common desire to succeed, and a reward when the team excels.  If that’s all done, it’s often accompanied by fun and laughter.

I have some material that I think is popular because it helps managers and employees focus on how to get the right attitude to thrive.  The presentation, Here I Am—There You Are, is fairly short (about 30 minutes) although, it can be combined with an activity that emphasizes on-the-spot how to be a positive team player.

Here I Am—There You Are is a good, short luncheon talk or awards presentation and can be customized to celebrate the both the winners as well as those who tried to win.

To help your group practice teamwork in the workplace, here are some tips your mangers will find helpful.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #1

Get the right people in the right jobs.  Let people volunteer for positions to find where they feel comfortable contributing.  If that does not work well, team members may need to be trained or assigned new roles so your people do work they can and will do well.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #2

Some companies have had great success assigning their people to work on multiple teams at the same time.  They give prizes to the teams with the best performance at the end of a set time period.  Then, they change the teams.  That way, employees get used to working with and helping a variety of coworkers and their mindset becomes “Let’s work together” rather than just “Let’s try to win.”  You want the entire company’s teamwork and morale to be high.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #3

Set aside “down time.”  Let your group members get to know each other in casual, non-work related settings like company-sponsored pizza lunches, potlucks and dessert socials.  The more employees get to know each other, the easier they’ll naturally form friendships.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #4

Give awards to high achievers.  Also give awards to those who make high achiever’s jobs possible.  For example, if you have an ace sales professional, reward the service team and the sales pro’s assistant who works with customers while the sales pro is out selling.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #5

Team members shouldn’t go behind each other’s backs or over their manager’s head.  When there’s a conflict, work out a time the problem can be safely discussed between the two who disagree or between the worker and the manager in a way that the complaint gets heard and handled.  Agree on this process in advance.  The complainer may or may not like the end result, but he or she should feel their complaint was considered fairly.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #6

Encourage each team member to learn new skills that will help the team as a whole.  The better the parts, the better the whole.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #7

Don’t ignore “problem” employees.  If one team member isn’t pulling their weight or is sabotaging the team or project, address the issue fairly and firmly.  One bad actor can pull down an entire team.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #8

Make your workplace fun.  Some companies have executives or teams specifically assigned to plan activities to keep the company’s spirit lighthearted.  They may plan a “hat” day, an ice cream day  or even a formal dress UP day.  The fun should include everyone and everyone should join in the fun.

Teamwork takes work and it’s worth the work it takes.  As Helen Keller noted, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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