Our next management guide looks at how you can develop your employees and turn them into a high-performing team.
Click here to find out more about the basics of employee management.
It’s rare for co-workers to become lifelong friends yet we spend the majority of our waking lives with our colleagues. One of the trickiest aspects of management is dealing with the various personalities that make up your team and channelling them together into a capable and productive workforce. As team leader it is your duty to instil professionalism and respect into the workplace, and to foster an environment in which your team can develop and grow together.
So how can you do this?
One of the most overlooked components of team building is the work environment. Is it open and honest? Can your employees talk freely without fear of repercussion (within reason, of course)? If you create a respectful environment in which your team can share their knowledge and build trust with one another, then they will form a vital support network amongst themselves.
Frequent feedback meetings keep you in the loop and also help to keep your team focused on their tasks. Management isn’t just about authority and discipline (however much it may sometimes feel like it); use meetings and appraisals to communicate praise and highlight where your team has contributed to business goals. By recognising your team’s efforts you will give them a sense of accountability and boost their feelings of engagement.
Of course, that might not be your first thought when you think of team building.
Out-of-office activities are an established and popular way of building your team. Giving employees the space to work on projects outside of their usual scope can be just the opportunity that they need to see a different side of one another.
- Training sessions allow your employees to interact with one another in a more casual (albeit still professional) way. These also often take place outside of the usual working environment. This shared experience, whether practical or theoretical, lets your employees express different strengths that may not be apparent during the usual day to day.
- Social responsibility activities can be high investment, but they can also be high reward. Volunteering gives your employees the opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause whilst still working as a team. The fact that this also promotes your business as a caring and engaged member of your community is just an additional bonus!
- Corporate events such as staff meals or nights out are good for giving your team the chance to let their hair down and enjoy themselves away from the pressures of work, but they can be a double-edged sword; after all, everyone has heard of someone or other who was fired after a little too much of the free bar at a work do. Organise these events with risk prevention in mind, especially when there’s alcohol involved.
Team building doesn’t just need to be about getting out of the office. However the theme running through these suggestions is that your team will benefit from being able to engage with each other as people, rather than exclusively as parts of a larger machine.