As we enter a New Year and continue extended periods of remote working, the need for team unity and spirit is more important than it’s ever been. With the current work situation, many companies are prioritising how to build and maintain happy and motivated teams during unprecedented times. Here are my thoughts on this important subject…
I’ve always enjoyed being part of a team, whether it’s via employment or supporting a project in an advisory capacity. I’ve experienced many different teams; big teams, small teams, great teams, appalling teams and everything in the middle!
Because my involvement is often to restore the sparkle and performance in a business, I often encounter situations where a team is not functioning terribly well and consequently the business is lagging behind and disappointing the powers-that-be.
This is what attracts me to my work, because it gives me a chance to help underperforming teams, support rather unhappy people working within them and help them find the magic again.
In turn, once we all start working together in collaboration of one another, there’s always a swift uptick in performance and enjoyment. Ultimately, we achieve break through moments where everyone wins; so the team is happy and so are the stakeholders.
Getting to know you
I start out by getting to know the people within the team. Listening to their thoughts, fears and dreams. Unlocking the real person, frustrations and all gives clues as to how best fix and support the rest of their business. After all, aside from the actual properties and owners, the team members ARE the business and they are critical in their part for representing the brand in everyday life and achieving the best on the business’ behalf- delivering the business. Their mindset will directly translate into how they behave on an hourly basis, both inside and out of work.
I am often deluged with things they’ve needed to get off their chest for some time. It’s a big build up and release for them to share with someone from the outside. Often they’ve felt neglected; without realising it, have switched off from working consciously or felt beaten with a stick for not delivering as desired and have sunk to that defeated position, reaching the bottom of the pit, where improvement feels too big a mountain to climb.
Coffee, virtual or face to face, is a good start or a walk in the park to open up a conversation. Don’t we all feel so much better when we’ve been heard and our thoughts and opinions welcome, valued and aired? What better way than creating some head space on neutral ground to start dismantling issues and challenges that may get left unresolved in the office. It frequently leads to blue sky thinking and creative takeaway ideas.
Dealing with negativity
It’s hard to get up when you feel down. Negativity spreads quickly and pollutes others that might have actually been ok. When a culture breads negativity, it’s a slippery slide that down spirals quickly and a highly destructive force within a team unit and a business. It spreads like a rash.
Half full quickly downgrades to half empty. But you can catch it before it becomes too damaging. In fact, it only takes one or two people to adopt a ‘can do’, ‘anything is possible’ attitude to make a change and bring others back to centre.
Hearts and minds
Now, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I’m not saying that it’s all easy-peasy, but once you make a conscious start and commitment to focus on the positive things that take place each day then you’ve a good chance to steer the ship in a positive direction bringing the crew with you and results to follow.
Hearts and minds is what I’m talking about here. Nothing better than a positive group of people united by a common goal and commitment behind this to deliver. When I join a room or virtual meeting, I quickly sense the vibe and with an energised or re-energised team you instinctively know that success has or will soon follow, because everyone is open to betterment- for themselves and their employer. They have a common goal and purpose which unites them. When there is unity, clarity, desire and passion, this is where the magic happens.
A good team leader sets out their vision, looks beyond themselves, draws strength, seeks ideas and buy-in from their team, irrespective of position and rank and gets a movement off the ground. When they succeed, they direct compliments to the team and thank them for their key involvement to get there. The whole team is the essence of success and a good manager knows to value and genuinely appreciate that.
They set about building their team as a collective, a group of people united in a common goal and vision, ignoring the faults and niggles that our analytical brain presents when we’re feeling a little glum. It’s amazing how a correction in mindset quickly changes outcome and critical that the person at the helm has the right growth mindset.
Essential qualities for a successful team
A few key qualities in healthy, happy and productive teams are:
- They encourage one another to try something new. If it doesn’t work, they move on to something else.
- They forgive one another for mistakes. They learn from them, see them as a gift towards growth and understanding and to avoid repeats.
- They look out for one another. If someone is having a tough time, they pick them up, support and encourage them. They never stop believing.
- They work together on united goals and become a tight-knit unit that develops a life force of its own. A ‘band of brothers’ a former boss used to say. It creates a strong image, doesn’t it.
- Often underrated, but walk into a fully functioning team and tell me there won’t be a communal sense of humour. Laughter keeps things light and in perspective. As Charles Dickens once said, ‘There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter’.
When you encourage and adopt these qualities within your team, your business is destined to succeed, supported by loyal team members, content in their work environment.