Team culture crucial to implementing work teams

2013-03-03T00:00:00Z Team culture crucial to implementing work teamsBy Bob Moulesong Times Correspondent
March 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Why teams and teamwork?

Every employee is dependent on other employees to work together and contribute efficiently to the organization’s success.

No employee can work alone. He has to take the help of his coworkers to accomplish the tasks efficiently.

It has been observed that the outcome comes out to be far better when employees work in a team rather than individually. Teamwork allows for every individual to contribute in his best possible way.

In organizations, individuals having a similar interest and specializations come together on a common platform and form a team.

Since many organizations and managers emphasize the importance of teams, it is critical to establish the culture of teams and teamwork in the workplace. Management who want their employees to collaborate need to ensure they have fostered an atmosphere that acknowledges and rewards such teamwork.

So what is a team culture?

It’s creating a work culture values collaboration. In a teamwork environment, employees understand and believe that thinking, planning, decisions and actions are better when done cooperatively. Employees recognize, and even assimilate, the belief of synergy, that "none of us is as good as all of us."

Employees are rarely raised in environments that emphasize true teamwork and collaboration. It is up to management to get employees to buy into the model through their efforts.

Some of the efforts that management can do to build successful team environments include:

· Managers need to effectively communicate expectations. Employees need to understand that teamwork and collaboration are expected as well as encouraged. When employees are assigned to teams to accomplish a task of a project, they need to understand that not only the results, but how they worked as a team to achieve those results, will be part of the final analysis.

· Managers need to practice what they preach. If the organization’s management models teamwork into their own work, employees will see that it the concept of teamwork is truly part of the culture, not just a cliché. While it is not practical for a manager to make every decision as part of a team, every manager can find examples to use.

· The organization’s value and mission statements should reflect the emphasis on teamwork. The importance of teamwork in the organization’s statements, especially ones seen by customers, will send a direct message to employees. That works both ways. The lack of emphasis will also be noticed. If an organization really wants their employees to buy in to teamwork, they need to raise the priority.

· Teamwork is recognized, and rewarded. If management wants employees to really see the value in teamwork, they need to make sure that team success is recognized and rewarded. Usually, in any organization, merit raises and promotions are an individual accomplishment. But management can ensure teamwork is rewarded in several creative ways, within and without the standard system.

· Teamwork can be in the annual performance management process. Most organizations have an annual performance review. The value and importance of teamwork can be part of that process. That sends the message home to employees to incorporate teamwork into their daily work life.

Before an organization can expect to reap benefits from teamwork, the foundation has to be set in place.

Management has to buy in to having projects done by teams. For some managers, that takes an adjustment. They may be used to having a “go-to” person that they trust to get things done quickly. In a team culture, they will have to spread out assignments and ask the team for status. Managers will have to lead by example and show that they value the team model.

Employees will also have to buy in to the concept that their work will not be “lost” in the team model. A major concern for employees is that their individual efforts and achievements are overlooked. Managers have to convince employees that this will not happen.

In many organizations, especially one with many physical locations nationally or countrywide, the team model is very successful. Like most initiatives, the success ratio lies in the implementation.

Once a team culture has been established, an organization can move on to the next step. Next week JobsSunday examines team building.

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