Almost every organization, at one time or another, talks about their workforce as a team. It sounds friendlier, and puts less emphasis on differences in roles and jobs. But not every company works as a team, getting better results, and lessening friction.
It’s more than a feel-good term, and if your remodeling company isn’t running as smoothly as it should, refreshing yourself on the principles of teamwork can make a big difference. As you continue to face labor shortages in the industry, creating a cohesive team can allow you to do more with less, avoid burnout for you and your employees, and make positive changes in your company culture.
From the Top
Any team needs leadership — without it, you’ve got a loose group of personalities who may or may not find a way to work together well. As a team leader and builder, your first steps are to establish relationships based on trust and loyalty. If you trust your team, as individuals and as a whole, they’ll trust you.
As we’ve all heard, there is no “I” in team — there are a lot of them. You have to manage all those individuals to bring them together. As a manager or owner, you’ve got to get in the weeds and mediate and resolve conflict between individuals, keeping them pointed toward larger collective goals.
The University of California Berkeley recommends delegating problem-solving tasks to your employees to encourage collaboration and helping them feel part of a whole. At first, it may take a little more time to get a decision than if it was made unilaterally, which is why many avoid it. Over time, however, the process will become second-nature — and take some of the little stuff off your hands so you can concentrate on longer term goals and how to get there.
You’re probably already doing individual performance reviews, but one of the best ways to establish and encourage teamwork is by establishing team values, setting team goals, and evaluating your team’s performance as a group. Look at:
- Why it’s important to do their jobs well
- Define what success as a team looks like
- What it means to live your team’s values
Encourage Listening & Debate
To get your employees to come together, you have to remember that they may all be a little scared to speak up, for fear of offending you, the boss, or making waves with their co-workers. Others may tend to come in like a bulldozer. By encouraging them to brainstorm together and work through conflict to reach the best decisions, you inspire their creativity.
As a leader, your first priority in getting to a team decision is to stimulate the debate. Remember that employees are often afraid to disagree with one another and that this fear can lead your team to make mediocre decisions. When you encourage debate you inspire creativity and that’s how you’ll spur your team on to better results.
If you need to brush up on your leadership skills to build and run your team, many of our Roundtables members, facilitators, and podcast guests recommend The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni.