When you and your team are working harmoniously together on a project with a common goal in mind, a certain kind of flow can occur, almost a chemical reaction - pleasurable and exciting. Suddenly, the combined energy of the group is much greater than the sum of your individual energies. You feel it and it is exhilarating and highly productive in both a quantitative and qualitative sense.
That feeling is synergy. Achieved when everyone on the team is working in sync and is equally invested in a common purpose.
Benefits of a cohesive team are well known in sports and business: more effective use of time and skills, increased momentum in completing projects, and more employee interest and engagement. In short, a higher level of productivity, innovation and faster turn - around.
How to get your team to that state?
Harvard Business Review says to create a work environment that emphasizes the basic elements of human relationships.
Key among these is maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends by caring about them, being interested in them, and allowing for the sharing of their personal lives, joys and difficulties. When others are going through difficult times, provide them with emotional support, and compassion. While holding individuals responsible, when problems occur, avoid placing blame and show forgiveness for mistakes. Reminding employees of the meaningfulness of their work and its value to others, can help to inspire employees on a personal level and re-ignite their excitement and involvement in the work. They recommend setting a standard for treating each other, clients and the public, with a high level of respect, gratitude, trust and integrity.
While developing all these warm feelings among teammates, accountability for producing the work is vitally important. After all, you and team members show respect to each other and management by doing your best. Show clearly what is expected, monitor production and quality and address performance issues. Checking in on the team’s progress and providing feedback from the top down on a regular basis is also critical to keep those good vibes going. These are all relationship building elements - they work in personal relationships as well as professional ones. They build a bond of trust that keeps people working together when pressure builds and things get stressful. When these relationships exist, there is no need for expensive team building exercises
Management’s role is to instill these as company values and reinforce daily. An atmosphere that, from top down, discourages back biting, one-upmanship, and sabotage of co-workers. Not to say that friendly competition can’t be a part of the program.
But, if things are not working well or a good team begins to break down, it’s time to stop and analyze why.
Is it a personality clash, a bad attitude or is the whole team malfunctioning? Is there a breakdown in communication? Sit down with each team member to get a sense of the problem. Do they know their roles? Is there a problem you are not aware of? Most importantly ask each team member what he or she thinks is the objective of the project. Do they all have the same goal in mind? If there is conflict brewing, create a path to resolution.
Once you have some insight, set up a three-month plan to change things and take a hard look at each week’s progress or lack of it. If you have one or two members who are just not getting it-they may have to be put on notice that you expect to see change and if they can’t do it they may need to go, either to another team or another company. Ultimately, management is responsible for the team’s success or failure and while many teams have natural leaders if things are not working, management must supply structure and accountability.
FIVE19 prides itself on having that spirit of cooperative team energy in-house. It shows in how team members interact with, not only each other, but with our clients as well. Synergy, resulting in momentum, creativity and invention, can all occur in a positive team environment. This is what FIVE19 has, this is what we promise our clients.