Whenever there is a need for something to get done, there is teamwork. From kindergarten to Fortune 500 companies, everything runs on teamwork. However, many times the basic workings of this fundamental skill start to break down. In business, projects get behind, people are offended, and poor teamwork is born. It’s unproductive and often costs a company lost time and money.
Likely, this is not an earth shattering revelation to you. After all, no company is perfect, and navigating the waves of corporate culture is bound to eventually create some issues in your team. The important question to ask then, is how can you prevent the majority of issues and keep your projects on time and on budget? Through the hundreds of successful projects we’ve completed for clients ranging from startups to large non-profits and corporations, we’ve learned and refined the best practices for efficient teamwork; putting our customers first by fostering a healthy culture that incentivizes sharing, discovering, and ownership.
So what are our secrets? How do we keep our team running smoothly, and our clients happy? We live by these 4 simple tips for effective teamwork, and have integrated these ideas into the very core of our company culture.
1. Listen What’s the worst thing you can do as a leader to destroy your teams productivity? Ignore them.
People who are ignored by their team leader generally feel as if they don’t have a voice and can’t fully contribute to the team. It’s totally cliche to say, but there is no ‘I’ in teamwork. There will always be a leader who is tasked with moving the team forward, but they should be an extension of the team and not a know-it-all leader. Whatever your role, it is imperative for you to listen. Stop, take a moment and really digest what is being said. Value what your team is saying. Acknowledge their contribution. This is equally important if you are not tasked with a leadership role in your team. Listen carefully and participate in the discussion so you are fully aware of what is expected of you. Only when all participants are honest and open can real trust be fostered.
2. Don’t Shut Anyone Out Speaking of trust, if you manage a team of any size, at some point there will be a disagreement. One person sees something their way, while another a different way. Sometimes these disagreements can be a clash of personalities, and sometimes they can be two people working out different aspects of a problem. It is important not to immediately rush to take someones side. All issues of ‘fairness’ aside, simply siding with someone on an issue without even hearing the other person out is a sign of poor leadership. Consider everything brought to the table. Don’t shut out one person’s opinion even if you think it may be wrong… hear them out! Teams need to foster a level of trust, where everyone feels like they are able to raise concerns, and contribute to the success of the project. When that trust is proven again and again, people will feel best about their individual contribution, and often produce a higher quality of work.
3. Value Your Team Many times team members will start to get discouraged when they feel they are not valued. Not noticing someones accomplishments can sometimes derail a team more than we realize. Your coworkers are looking up to you for leadership, and following your vision to get the job done, on time and on budget. THAT is a valuable commodity in this world that we shouldn’t take for granted. Notice and applaud what your team does right. When you experience success, make sure to celebrate it together! Encourage when things go sideways, and when deadlines are missed, make sure to take an equal amount of responsibility instead of pushing the blame onto others. You are all working together after all, and any success or failure is shared by the entire team. You, as the leader, can be the cheerleader that pushes your team on to victory!
4. Lead by Example Any good team needs to have someone leading by example. One of the first signs of poor teamwork is not missed deadlines… it is the person who barks orders then doesn’t do anything himself. He is giving everyone an example (poor as it is) to follow. People look to you for how to act, so act like you want your team to. Don’t be afraid to get dirty and do some work… people WILL follow and emulate someone that leads by example. If there is anyone on the team who should be working the hardest and setting the example it should be you. Make your selflessness and attitude the high water mark that everyone is strives towards.
Taking time to evaluate your own company culture is important. At Code Koalas, we do it on a weekly and quarterly basis to ensure that we are following our own core values, and giving our clients and employees the best possible experience. By striving to be the best, we encourage every one of our employees to be invested in producing the quality software. We can say with pride that we take care of people better than anyone else, because we are focused on creating a culture of excellence and teamwork. Want to learn more about our culture and core values? Visit CodeKoalas.com