A small twig is easy enough to break, but put a dozen of the same sticks together and they become very difficult to break. A hundred of them become impossible to crack. That's one powerful image of teamwork.
There are many things in life that can divide a team—that can make it weaker. These tips will help prevent your team from succumbing to such a fate.
1. Improve communication. This is the lifeblood of an organization. Without communication, the team has no way of knowing where it is going, how it is doing, or what needs to be done next. With superior communication, a team works more smoothly, anticipates the needs of other team members and achieves new ideas they may not have achieved on their own.
2. Foster consensus. A team can get by if it follows a strong leader. It may even excel. But when a team does really well, it is usually because that leader has built a consensus amongst the team's members. Everyone wants to feel valued. If the direction of the team comes from team member agreement, then everyone feels consulted. They can take ownership of the process.
3. Encourage an appreciation of diversity. Cultural, racial, ideological and conceptual diversity can help make a team far stronger, more fleet footed and more creative. What works in nature to strengthen a species through cross-pollination, can also work with ideas and concepts. Each individual, when valued for their own unique viewpoint, can contribute something the other team members may never have realized.
4. Eliminate outsiderness. When people are made to feel that they are outsiders, they cease to be a member of the team. Such alienation creates friction, and like any machine, a business with such friction will quickly break down. Such divisiveness can happen within a group or even between groups within the company—between seasoned team members and a new hire, or between machinists and engineers, or between sales and marketing.
5. Create an appreciation for multiple generations. Youthful hubris and senile arrogance do not need to be the result of mixing age groups. Find the strengths of each generation—youthful energy and creativity, plus the more seasoned experience of senior staffers.
6. Teamwork training. Online training courses or e-learning can help each team member understand how to improve the functioning of a team—to make it far more than merely the sum of its individual members. Adding things like effective communication training and teamwork training can give your group the tools it needs to become a world-class team.
The OpenSesame marketplace features excellent courses on teamwork training. If you're looking for just the right course, let us know! We'll help you find it.