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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

When it comes to team building at the office, many managers try to avoid the topic because it often takes a lot of time and effort. When it comes down to it, however, the benefits of having a high-functioning team cannot be overstated: increased trust, enhanced performance and productivity, more job satisfaction, staff retention and an overall sense of community are just some of the advantages.

When you add all this together, what you get is a cohesive bunch of people working in sync towards the same goal, with a marked absence of frustration, resentment, suspicion, avoidance of accountability, lack of respect, and all those things that make people hate going to work.

So just because you have staff members, it doesn’t automatically mean you have a team. The following are some of the ways you can improve communication and enjoy a more motivated, engaged and cohesive team.

Communicate with your staff

Be clear with your staff about the purpose of their work, expectations and common goals. You can easily achieve this by having regular office meetings and coming up with a mission statement for your office that encourages a team mentality. By not communicating with employees, you increase the risk of misunderstanding, assumptions, apathy and lack of loyalty.

Commit to staff development

Savvy business leaders are always putting resources towards the continued education of their staff members, and helping to develop their skills that will enhance their value to the team. Sending your staff (and yourself) to seminars on communication, emotional intelligence, team building and leadership training are worthwhile as well. Remember to follow up on these courses by giving staff your ongoing support by ensuring employees use their new skills, encouraging them to be proactive, and implementing effective new policies.

Offer feedback

Your staff members should always know where they stand with respect to your company, and by providing them with both casual and formal evaluation you will effectively be showing them that they’re valued, respected and that their work is acknowledged. Many business owners make the mistake of only providing feedback when it’s negative, but providing plenty of positive feedback will build the confidence of your staff members and will make it more effective when you do need to criticise.

Encourage collaboration

Every office needs some collaboration among staff members in order to make the work happen, but there are plenty of benefits to making that collaboration more effective. By creating a space where employees can get to know each other — even if they don’t work closely that often — then you will create a space that is more comfortable and that encourages more creative thinking and brainstorming. Having staff members that know each other and that work well together means that better work will get done more quickly, and more innovation will come of it.

Be consistent

No matter how many staff members you have, it’s important that you try to be consistent in your decision-making. Having strong office policies means you don’t “play favourites” and you treat each employee the same, which will make them all feel more valued. Communicate decisions clearly and openly so that everyone knows them at the same time, and handle similar situations involving staff members the same way every time so that each employee knows they are as important.

Strong teams don’t just appear magically, as you have to work hard to improve communication and respect amongst your staff members. If you really work at it, don’t be surprised if you start noticing positive changes quickly.

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