Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Building Better Teams

In this time of economic hardship and corporate downsizing, it can be difficult to get the best out of a team when everyone is feeling a little stretched to their capacity. 
It can be quite challenging to ask a group of people to take some time out of a busy schedules to attend a 'team building workshop'.  So instead, take a look below at some quick and easy ideas that you can implement to help improve your team's motivation and performance.

GET TALKING: A common feature of under-motivated teams is that they seldom have a chance to talk about reoccurring issues.  Make sure that you host a regular team meeting at least every two weeks.  This way your team can feel that they have an opportunity to discuss issues that are important to them.

LITTLE FUN GOES A LONG WAY: Injecting a little bit of 'play' into the workplace can have a huge impact.  A quick quiz, lateral thinking puzzles, games or an icebreaker can give your team a chance to relieve stress and improve relationships with their colleagues.  It can be really effective to partner people with co-workers that they don't normally work with, as this can help build relationships and allow people to see each other a fellow human being...not just as a job title.

GIVE PRAISE: Remember that catching people doing things right from time to time and acknowledging people for their contributions is a powerful way to make people feel appreciated.

ALLOW AUTONOMY: Give people and teams the opportunity to make decisions for themselves.  This will help a team to become more responsible for their tasks and give your team a greater stake in delivering strong results.

HOLD A WORKSHOP: Have team members plan and deliver a workshop around a relevant workplace subjects.  This can ensure that important skills and knowledge are shared throughout the team, allowing people to improve their understanding of key aspects of the business.

SURPRISE SOMEONE: Similar to giving praise, this can be a very powerful way to formally recognise a member of the team with a special thank you or an award.  This can send a very powerful message to the entire team that demonstrates how their contributions are noticed and appreciated by the organisation.

DO SOMETHING OLD, SOMEWHERE NEW: It is amazing how powerful a new space can be.  If you have a regular meeting in the same office, it can easily be transformed by having the meeting somewhere else.  In a local coffee shop, in a local park or even in the another meeting room can enliven the participants and make the meeting more enjoyable for all.

USE COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES: Think about how you can improve team communication by using communally agreed 'rules' that can help people know what ways the team can improve their relationships.  Examples can be: only replying to an email on a certain subject a limit of three times before you have to call the other person, having a time limit to team meetings (no longer than 90 minutes), no emailing anyone with 9 feet of your desk (except when sending a report), banning email for an hour each day, etc.  These types of agreed guidelines can encourage team spirit and help improve communication skills.

FOOD: Never underestimate the power of biscuits, sweets and chocolate.