Chapter 8

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Chapter 08: Creating teams and encouraging Teamwork

One of the best ways to avoid these sorts of scenarios altogether though and to encourage harmony, productivity, creativity and workplace satisfaction is simply to make sure you are putting together the best teams possible and then getting them to work well.

And one way you’re going to do this is by hiring the right people…

How to Hire the Right People
Hiring the right person for the job is not simply a matter of picking the person with the best qualifications or experience. Rather, it is a matter of picking the person who will most fit into your workplace culture and who clearly has goals that are aligned with that of the team and the organization. Once again, it comes down to the why and to finding people who really want to work there – not only for the money.

If you can do this well, then the people in your office will naturally be friendly because they will have aligned goals. What’s more, is that they will naturally be more likely to get on well and to fit into the office ‘vibe’.

How to Encourage Teamwork
Encourage Trust
One of the most important ways to build teamwork is to encourage trust. Remember what we said a long time ago about people in the military being willing to sacrifice themselves for their team? The reason that they all give for this is ‘they would have done it for me’.

You don’t have to be best friends with someone on your team and you don’t need to share anything in common. But if you can trust them to have your back, then you’ll be motivated to support them as well. You can encourage this not with ‘trust exercises’ (which are a waste of time) but by putting your team in positions where they are forced to rely on each other to succeed. You also need to encourage open communication and openness in general – and you should endeavour to give the team the chance to become personally acquainted so that they know more about one another.

Common Goals
Remember earlier that we said you shouldn’t offer individual incentives in order to avoid negative competition within your teams? That still holds true and you should certainly avoid creating an environment where it pays to step on the toes of your colleagues.

But what’s more is that you can do the opposite by giving goals for your whole team. Having numbers of sales up on the board, or better yet a customer satisfaction score, can help to remind your team why they’re there and to work together toward that common objective. Likewise, giving individual members within the team the credit and autonomy to work on their own aspects, will further help them to be intrinsically motivated and to help their fellow teammates along the way.

Mix Things Up
One thing to avoid is allowing smaller cliques to form within your organization. You don’t want one group of ‘smokers’, the older generation and ‘accounting’. While your team will naturally be formed of smaller subsets, cliques can be destructive due to the principles of ‘convergence and divergence’ which will make those subsets view themselves more like outsiders rather than members of your organization.

Solve this by breaking up destructive relationships by moving the seating and by forcing more interaction between departments.

Teamwork between different departments is as important – if not more important – than teamwork within departments. This is another reason to move things around and to encourage individuals to spend time in other groups. If someone from sales spends a few days sitting with the marketing team, then they’ll not only become less part of their ‘sales team boy’s club’ but will also be more likely to better understand and respect the role of marketing.

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