Do people on your team work in silos? How can you get people to start working and thinking like a team rather than a group of individuals that separately contribute to one goal? If you’re the team leader, it is easier than if you are a relatively new member. In this short article, we’ll look at it from both perspectives.
As a leader, you can:
- Hold regular team meetings to share projects, ideas, ask for assistance.
- Encourage team members to collaborate rather than simply go it alone or ask for your advice.
- Get to know each other on a more personal level. You are all people. Even something as simple as all sharing what you did over the weekend helps to bring you closer by amking everyone more “human.”
- Have some fun and levity at your meetings. One of our clients incorporates one of our quick, simple “Team Minutes-to-Win-It” challenges at each of their staff meetings. It lightens things up, increases the energy and boosts camaraderie—all within minutes. Or—you could assign one person to tell their best joke each week, or tell about the funniest thing that happened to them last year. It does not need to be complicated. You just want to increase communication and interaction.
- Celebrate success. If anyone on your team has achieved something noteworthy, make sure everyone knows it. Acknowledgment is easy—and as simple as a blast email or a quick round of applause from everyone. These congratulatory recognitions do not have to just be for work related things. It can be personal success or milestones as well.
As a team member, you can:
- Offer help to another team member. If someone is overwhelmed by a big project, what can you do to help them? Be aware of what is going on around you. Help might be as simple as emptying someone’s trash can—or getting them coffee when you are going to get some.
- Ask for ideas or advice. If you are designing a new process or having a problem, ask a team member for their perspective and ideas. We all think that everyone is too busy and you don’t want to bother them. But you could approach it this way: “Do you have time for a cup of coffee with me? I’d really like to bounce an idea off of you.” Even if the person says “no.” You are still opening up a conversation and fostering more of a “team mentality” just by this simple act.
- If you don’t have regular team meetings, then suggest to your boss that it would be a great idea. They don’t need to be frequent, long or tedious—but could certainly help to build good working bonds among the team members as well as make the workplace more fun, human and interesting for all.
- Bring food. There is nothing that attracts and brings people together like good snacks. Great for breaking the ice with new team members. You can certainly do it for special holidays, but anytime is just fine too.
- Celebrate success. I put this on both lists. You don’t have to be the boss to give others recognition.
We meet lots of organizations that have a yearly meeting that includes a team building activity. This is great, but it does not have the impact of regular team interaction. It should augment your team building efforts –that take place throughout the year at your team meetings and office celebrations.