A company can only succeed if every single team member works their best to achieve the same goals. That sentence alone shows just how important building a strong team spirit is in any workplace.
Every single employee in a company is - or should be - a crucial piece in the big picture of the business. If one of those pieces starts to slack, it ends up bringing other pieces down with them, and as this happens, it becomes increasingly harder to achieve any business objective.
But having a strong, united team doesn’t just happen: team leaders need to put in some effort to encourage every single employee to cooperate, communicate and give it their all. Not sure how? Keep reading.
1. Hire the right people
Fostering a strong team spirit starts from the moment you hire each member.
See, a big part of a company’s culture is in its core values and beliefs, and when you interview someone to join your team, you should make sure they identify with what the company is all about. Even if they have the exact skills and expertise you’re looking for!
The truth is that you can always teach a new employee all the theory they need to know to do their job in the most effective way. However, changing their personality and beliefs to match those of the company… well, that’s a completely different story.
One great way of understanding if the person is a good cultural fit for your company is by asking some soft questions, like the top three things they value in a job, how they’d deal with working on a project alongside a colleague they don’t get along with and how they’d describe their ideal workday.
As you interview more and more people, it’ll become natural to interpret not only their answers to your questions but even their body language when you speak about your company.
2. Always Communicate Honestly
As a leader who expects their team to work as one, you need to set the example.
One crucial way of doing this is by being honest and it’s easy to understand why. Think about your previous team leaders and the way they managed the team. Weren’t you way more motivated when you felt like those above you in the company hierarchy were open with everyone?
People work a lot better when they feel like they’re a part of the team and there’s nothing like transparency to ensure this feeling.
But communication goes both ways and listening is just as important as speaking. So encourage your team members to be just as open as you strive to be, not only with you but also with their fellow coworkers.
This honest communication helps people feel like everyone’s at the same level, despite the company hierarchy, and that can help maintain a pleasant, respectful environment in the office.
3. Organize Team-Building Sessions
The more comfortable your employees feel with each other, the easier it is for them to work as one. And they need a bit more than seeing each other every day in the office and exchanging a few words every now and then to become truly comfortable.
Planning team building sessions is a great, fun way of encouraging your team members to get to know each other.
You can do this by organizing weekly meetings with the whole team where everyone gets to speak about their projects or by organizing a big annual event outside the office - or even by doing both. The only thing that matters is that you foster teamwork and communication!
4. Celebrate and Learn as One
Every single company has its ups and downs. It’s perfectly normal and, as a leader, not only can you not expect everything to always go perfectly, but you have to know how to deal with the downs in the best way possible.
If you, as the authority, get easily defeated, your team will lose motivation in no time. Likewise, if you become the type of leader who points fingers when something doesn’t go as planned, your team will surely fall apart.
Instead, you need to look at failures as learning opportunities and convey that message to every single member of your team, making it a habit for you, as a group, to find how a specific mistake can be avoided in the future. This way, the team will learn how to turn each honest mistake into a useful lesson and how to lift each other up when things don’t go the best way.
But not everything is bad: each of your team members has strong suits that will bring many successes to your company and it’s important to celebrate your achievements. This doesn’t mean throwing a party every time something goes as planned: a simple “congratulations” can be more than enough to keep everyone’s morale up.
5. Identify Problematic People
Not everyone you hire will end up being the perfect fit for the company culture. Sometimes you get a first impression from someone that doesn’t actually match the reality, but you only notice this after you hire them. It happens to every single team leader.
When your team seems to be a bit divided, it’s important that you understand why, and sometimes the reason might be in one of the members.
Once you identify who this person is, it’s essential that you communicate with them. Let them know what you believe is happening and let them also explain their side of the story. Hopefully, you can work together to turn the situation around. If they don’t collaborate… they might just not be a good fit for your team.
Having a united team can truly make or break the success of your business. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone feels like they’re a part of the family and that everyone’s motivated to keep going. Follow our five tips and you’ll see how much of a difference a strong team spirit can truly make in your results!