What must managers do to make teamwork, and all the benefits that come with it, a reality? For decades, business theorists have ballyhooed the incredible potential of getting groups of workers to think of themselves as a single organism, united around a common set of goals. Now, nearly a half-century after the first wave of this popular corporate philosophy first became mainstream, bosses are still trying to define and put into practice a sure-fire recipe for successful teamwork.
Ask an instructor at any of the top MBA schools and you won’t get much agreement on this topic, but the experts have found small areas of common ground. Nowadays, it is commonly accepted that if you want employees to think as a group, you must do the following:
Recognize Group Performance Benchmarks
Without neglecting individual accomplishments, leadership can cement a team mentality by regularly recognizing team milestones, like the number of new clients recruited for the month, quarters with higher than expected profits, dollars raised in a charity project and similar parameters of group success. Giving nominal awards to work groups for a job well done is a simple, effective strategy for creating a cohesive mind-set for business success.
Avoid Employee Scheduling Mistakes
If you ever worked in the restaurant industry, you know well the typical scheduling mistakes that can wreak havoc on the collective serenity of the establishment. The biggest errors in this category include double-booking, under- or over-scheduling, and putting the wrong person on a particular job. The classic mistake is when a shift leader schedules one person for two jobs at the same time (double-booking). Giving a part-timer too many hours, offering a full-time staff member too few, or having the cook show up to do a server’s job are common no-nos. Smart scheduling is the core of a happy work force, so managers need to use the most modern tools at their disposal to make sure that everyone gets booked for the right job at the correct time in the appropriate place. Having an app like Deputy allows simple and intuitive online scheduling.
Be the Example
If you don’t walk the walk, no one will take you seriously in a business enterprise. If there are strict rules about being on time and never leaving early, don’t assume you can flaunt the rule just because you’re an executive. Experts have discovered that workers despise nothing more than higher-ups who appear to ignore company-wide regulations. So, even if you’re the founder of the organization, strive to be a positive example for those who punch the clock Monday through Friday.
Encourage Opinions, Suggestions and Criticism
Dictatorial leadership styles work for a while but inevitably fall to pieces because they are divisive, top-down and create worker resentment. Numerous studies have shown that company leaders who encourage rank-and-file folks to offer opinions, suggestions and valid critiques during meetings are on the smart side of the struggle for long-term profit and solvency. When new and low-seniority staff members feel free to voice their ideas in front of others, everyone wins. Administrators get to hear what’s on people’s minds and all members of the team feel as if their input is valued and taken into account when it comes time to set corporate policy.