Leadership / 04.14.21
What Does Effective Teamwork Really Look Like? Dive Into 4 Important Features
We’ve heard all the old sayings when it comes to teamwork. “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” “Teamwork makes the dream work.” And, my personal favorite, “What’s gonna work? Teamwork!”
Throughout March, professional development trainer and executive coach Bruce Mayhew contributed a series of articles to INTIX’s Access content hub and weekly e-newsletter that explored different aspects of effective teamwork in the pandemic and (hopefully soon) post-pandemic era. Topics included “How to Build Employee Commitment,” “Help Team Members Be Accountable,” “Why Trust Matters, and How to Build Trust at Work” and “Could Fear of Conflict Be Holding Back Your Team?”
Here is a recap of Mayhew’s four features along with links to the full articles:
Why Trust Matters, and How to Build Trust at Work
Mayhew began his series the way most begin building relationships in ticketing or any other industry: with the establishment of trust. His first of the four articles asserts that one of the quickest ways to build trust on a team is for leaders to demonstrate it, to acknowledge when they need help and when they have made mistakes. Trust is also built when leaders give due credit to others.
He goes on to list nearly a dozen ways leaders and teams can together create a trusting work culture. They ranged from the obvious (“Be transparent about goals and challenges”) to the social (“Eliminate disparaging talk and gossip”) to the intellectual (“Listen to others and take their advice”).
Could Fear of Conflict Be Holding Back Your Team?
In his second March feature, Mayhew addressed the changing times and sensitivities in workplace debates. While he prefers such discussions to remain calm, sharing opposing views and challenging colleagues’ assumptions are inevitable, and they can get a little loud. But there should never be disrespect.
Mayhew writes: “I urge you to stay aware of socially acceptable boundaries relating to colorful language and/or full-on inappropriate language (read your HR policies). Crossing over the socially acceptable line can cause you trouble even within a trusting relationship. We have to know what is appropriate and what is not.”
How to Build Employee Commitment
Once the ball gets rolling on a team project or major endeavor, the next step is team member buy-in. Mayhew’s third feature explores how leaders can build commitment and team excellence. He lists five essential motivators for doing just that. One is being made to feel like a respected and valued member of the team. Two, the work itself must be interesting and challenging. Three, offer the possibility of professional development as a perk. Four, celebrate the end result of achieving something important for the organization. And five, possibly give top team members greater responsibility down the road.
Mayhew says a steady hand at the wheel is key. He writes, “A conscious decision to build employee commitment really does make a difference. I have seen mediocre teams transform into high-performing teams in months when they got a new leader, and I have seen high-performing teams unravel in weeks when they got a poor leader.”
Help Team Members Be Accountable
The fourth in Mayhew’s series of articles focuses on the various ways leaders can help team members become accountable. One of the first keys is to, whenever and wherever possible, align people’s passion with their work. Leadership must also have a handle on what motivates and inspires each individual team member. A third key is to always be clear with expectations.
Perhaps most importantly, Mayhew urges leaders to help team members understand the all-important question of “Why?” He explains, “When people know why their work is important, they are likely to be more accountable for getting it done on time and as expected. And, at a team level, they will be more inclined to hold each other accountable.” Finally, don’t forget the fun of recognizing and celebrating when the team effort has paid off and delivered a desired result.
Bruce Mayhew is also a conference speaker who has spoken at several INTIX Annual Conferences. He specializes in soft skills like leadership and new leadership development, motivation skills, generational differences, difficult conversations training, change management, time management and email etiquette.
Tags: Leadership , Workplace