Here’s How to Build Teams That Respect Each Other
Lately, we’ve been talking about resolving workplace conflicts. But today let’s think more positively. How do you build an atmosphere of respect in the first place? When employees get along, the team works more efficiently. And efficiency is what Superior is all about, whether it requires print management services, or a little “office chemistry” management!
I’ve put together a few thoughts on building teams that work well together. Now don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest “trust falls” or lining the walls with pictures of people rowing together. But I do think there are some steps you can take to help your employees “bond” with one another (without ever using those words). It’s good for them, and it’s good for your business.
We have been around for 95 years. We haven’t earned that successful track record through products and services alone. We have created a family at Superior. Part of that family atmosphere involves building successful teams that respect and actually care about each other. Here’s what I’ve learned.
5 Ways to Build Successful Teams That Care About One Another and Work Well Together
Look it up, and you’ll find tons of team-building suggestions. Everyone from basketball coaches to business consultants has an opinion. But I’ve saved you a little hunting. Here is an eclectic group of ideas that made sense to me. One or more might work for your team.
Help Team Members Get to Know One Another
The simple fact is that each of us is far more than what we do at work. Provide mechanisms by which employees can get to know co-workers on a more personal level. I don’t mean deep psychology or political leanings. Just something that helps “round out” the whole person.
Example: I may butt heads with Joe often over projects and decisions. But once I happen to learn that Joe loves dogs as much as I do (and even got his from the same shelter) I just don’t see him the same way. That little bond can really limit the animosity over a minor disagreement. That “something in common” might be movies, sewing, hockey or grandkids. But it will almost certainly help build chemistry.
Give Team Members (the Right) Space
Conversation isn’t easy when one participant is on the phone or staring at a computer screen. That’s why it can be important to establish a lounge with comfy seating where employees can get coffee, soft drinks and snacks (ideally provided by you). This can be the best place for team members to interact and grow more comfortable with one another.
Example: If Jo Anne and I are getting coffee at the same time, it’s not a stuffy meeting. But it could a perfect time to collaborate on a project. We might talk about last night’s awards show along with the project we’re working on. But that’s a good thing. A friendly environment contributes to positive employee attitudes, which in turn boost productivity.
Participate in a Charity Event
Teamwork and collaboration need practice, like anything else. Why not put your team to work on a charity event of their choosing? By coordinating efforts for a good cause, they will be building their skills at collaboration, communication and handling a variety of interactions and decision-making with others. Plus, of course, the charity benefits.
Here at Superior, we tend to go where our employees lead us. We concentrate on supporting various causes that are presented to us through our family of employees.
Your business might choose to support one, individual charity to fill one specific need in your community.
Example: Conduct an informal survey of team members about their favorite charities, and pick the most appropriate one. Dedicate an afternoon where the team will go help that charity. A popular one in our area involves groups decorating paper lunch bags to be used for “sack suppers.” These are sent home with area school children in need to ensure that they have an evening meal.
Make Communication Count
About that communication thing: we all understand its importance of communication in a general sense. But it’s worth talking to your team about how “fuzzy” communication can cause problems. Words matter and casual exchanges can lead to serious friction.
Example: You hand me a task, and ask me to handle it “as soon as you can”. I respond that “I’ll get to it right after I finish this report.” You walk away thinking “he’ll work on it later this afternoon.” With a major report pressing, I’m thinking “that will be Friday, or maybe Monday.” It’s nobody’s “fault” but trouble may be on the horizon. We both should have been more specific.
Make the Workplace a Fun Hub
By that, I don’t mean a party center. But incorporate enough activities so that the workplace and co-workers can be a source of entertainment and satisfaction. Hold yoga, exercise or trendy craft classes for employees after work. Periodically host social activities like dinners at a restaurant or family outings to amusement parks or movies. Sponsor sports teams representing the company.
Example: Remember Joe, from number one above? How making summer Fridays special with “Dog Day Afternoon” where employees bring their dogs to work, then hit the dog park at noon (and you provide the hot dog lunch). Next Friday, maybe it’s mini-golf.
We are big on birthdays, potluck lunches, dressing up and surprises.
Boost Morale with Superior
Job satisfaction is the product of many factors. But one way to make sure people love their work is to allow them to concentrate on doing what they do best. When you work with Superior, employees are spared the distracting and frustrating responsibilities of overseeing printing projects or the procurement of promotional products. They get to concentrate on the job you hired them to do. And you get better, more cost-effective results in those areas.
Our customers opinions seem to back that up; their comments recently earned us a third consecutive Best of Print and Digital award. Superior’s products and procedures are ISO 9001:2015 certified, as well, so you can expect your experience to be just as positive.
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