An organization is just as strong as its team is. And team strength is not only by qualifications and skills but also about how loyal it is towards the organization as well as how well aligned it is to the business vision. The word team can be defined as a group of individuals working towards a common goal. Cross functional teams make up an organization and any weak link can have a huge impact.
Carefully building the team is the first step. In the selection process, the cultural fit should be taken into consideration. How well will the individual fit seamlessly into the team. This can be predicted on the bases of personality traits, personal goals and background. A simple psychometric evaluation can answer a lot of these questions.
Once the team is established, maintaining the dynamic takes constant effort. Even if a team looks like its working cohesively, it cannot be taken for granted. This holds truer when dealing with cross functional teams. Ensuring that everyone is working on the same page towards the same goal without stepping on each other’s toes requires motivating and inspiring the team while ensuring a smooth flow of communication.
Here are a few ways with which you can improve the engagement with your team and stay connected with them:
Hold One on One Meetings
Scheduling periodic one on one sessions with the team members aids in building confidence especially in the team leader. Being in a position of authority, it is upto the team leader to reach out and maintain a connection with the team rather than waiting for the members to come and speak. Connecting with individual team members will foster a sense of trust in the management and encourage them to speak up. These sessions would also aid in understanding any problem areas and giving constructive feedback in areas of improvement.
Involve the team in the decision-making process
it is important to understand that the individuals working for any organization are one of its most important stake holders and they are the ones who form teams within it. taking this into consideration, it is logical to involve them in any decision making process as the outcome would have an impact on them as well.
Often these teams are the one who have firsthand experience with the target market. As a result, they can offer valuable insight into the ground reality. These insights can go a long way in making strategic decisions more effective. Involving the team is also a great way to motivate them and make them feel more invested in the organization.
Develop and instill strong organizational values
Organizations like TATA, Infosys etc are all known for their strong organizational values. They invest heavily in training their new hires to imbibe these values early on in their professional journey. These values are reinforced in the employees by both positive and negative reinforcement techniques.
Organizational values infact can also give the employees something to relate to and believe in. the study done by Rohit Deshpande and Anjali Raina for Harvard Business Review, shows clearly how having strong organizational values in the workforce led to ordinary employees becoming heroes at a time of crisis to a point where they put the lives of their guests over their own.
Celebrate the team and its members
Small celebrations can go a long way in lifting team morale and engagement. Celebrating achievements and milestones of the team members can in fact motivate them to go the extra mile. Informal celebrations for occasions such as birthdays also increase interpersonal relationships making way for a healthier team dynamic. For a team leader having such a connection with the members is extremely important as motivated and invested team members show much more volition to put in their 100 percent.
Understand and integrate individual growth
It is easy to lose sight of individual growth while focusing on team goals. If a member’s individual goals are not aligned with that of the team, he/she can become disengaged and disinvested. To cope with this, the manager can discuss personal growth of the member within the team and help come up with a growth plan for the same. Doing this will not only aid in knowing the mindset of all the individuals in the team but also link their individual professional growth to that of the team.
F For Fun
Last but not the least, don’t let it be all about the work all the time. Invest in having informal sessions with the members to connect with them at a more personal level. They don’t always need to be extravagant corporate retreats, they can be brain storming sessions or periodic team building activities. Fun engaging games which will help the members open up will make them feel more comfortable and happier in the team.
Understanding and maintaining a healthy team dynamic is key to working cohesively and seamlessly towards common goals. Losing sight of the team for individuals or vice versa can greatly affect productivity and growth. Making these small efforts to connect will go a long way in creating and maintaining a strong team for the best outputs.