Want a Stronger Work Team? Focus on These Areas to Build Teamwork

   It’s no secret that teams with members who work well together go further and get more done than those with members who… don’t. 

   With some help from the UC Berkeley HR handguide, we’ve put together a concise and direct list of the areas you need to focus on to strengthen your work team and improve the way you all get work done. 

Open Communication

   Most of us know that our team would benefit from more and better communication… but how do we make it happen? First of all: encouragement. Remind everyone that what they say does matter and will be taken seriously, then make sure to follow through with these sentiments in practice. This doesn’t just mean in meetings! 

   Create space for feedback, suggestions, and concerns. Model this behavior yourself by asking questions, offering help, and listening – even taking notes. Set aside time for group brainstorming and make sure everyone chimes in. Unblocked lines of communication make the days and projects easier. Group work shouldn’t be something to dread. If leadership is open, the rest of the team will follow. 

The hands of two people are seen against the backdrop of a whiteboard they've been writing on using expo dry erase markers to brainstorm and work together on ideas, encouraging teamwork and open communication.

Support and Appreciation

   Support has different forms, but one of the most important is making sure your employees are safe and feel cared for. People can’t just be asked to speak up with concerns, frustrations, or problems, they need to be heard when they do. Listen to them carefully: take notes and take time to find the solutions. Ask what they believe would address the matter. It all boils down to supporting people when they bring up the unpleasant stuff because a team cannot operate at its best when riddled with dysfunction.

   Appreciation is probably a bit more fun because it’s about expressing your gratitude for team members’ contributions. Celebrate and acknowledge team (as well as individual) accomplishments. Thank people for their ideas, time, and work. Feeling appreciated can go a long way in reinforcing that you’re all in it together.

Organization

   This is a many layered element to strong work teams, but it’s not one to overlook. This can be one of the best ways to implement a brainstorming session like we mentioned above! Ask your coworkers and teammates what ideas they have for improving the organization and function of systems at work. From filing to how breaks are taken, or from meeting structures to digital communication, your group will certainly have valuable insights you have never considered.

A woman stands at the front of a meeting room, organizing sticky notes filled with ideas on a wall. Her team is watching and taking notes as they work together.

Strong Leadership

   Hey, by reading this blog you’re already off to a great start. Working on yourself and the standards you set for your team is the best thing you can do to improve how cohesively and smoothly your team operates. Build skills, learn new information, try recommended practices, and generate and share ideas. 

   If you’re not the designated leader don’t write off the idea of working on yourself, it absolutely can still make a difference. But if you think the designated leader is as excited about building a stronger team as you are, may we suggest sending them a friendly email with a link to this post?

Fun

   Keep each other in good spirits. Be intentional about employee connections; get to know one another. Do things together, enjoy moments of lightness in the office, and laugh a little, or even a lot. We aren’t saying anyone needs to try to be the “cool” boss with no boundaries, but having fun together will boost your bonds.

   Strong bonds will further open those lines of communication, increase everyone’s sense of being supported and appreciated, and offer a healthy stress outlet for when times at the office are a little more hectic and tense.

The image is centered on the hands from a large group huddle meeting together in the middle, the hands are stacked on top of one another in a unified teamwork building and fun activity.

  You probably noticed these areas overlap a bit. This means you’ll find that steps you take in one will lead to natural improvements in another. The work you put into building team work will undoubtedly be worth it. 

  Be sure to let us know how your efforts go. What worked for opening communication and having more built-in fun? What organizational ideas did you all come up with and try? 

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check back next month for more!

-Apple Pie Painting

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