When sending your team out to take part in a professionally run team building event there will be a lot of excitement and adrenalin running before and during the event, and of course everyone will be keen to show off their new skills once back in the workplace. But how do you keep that momentum going a month, two months or even six months down the line?
Trying to stop people from slipping back into bad and sloppy routines, or revert back to a ‘them and us’ attitude is difficult, but with some careful planning and ongoing proactivity you can keep that team spirit and high morale going long after everyone has attended the team building event.
Positivity is infectious, as indeed is negativity! It is important to lead by example, if you want your team to be industrious, happy and motivated then you need to be too.
If you’re negative and downcast in front of your team then you can expect that to rub off and the mood in the workplace will be seriously affected.
Remember that everyone is there to do a job and all their roles are vital to the smooth running of the business. Use ‘we’ when addressing your team, rather than ‘I’ and also ask for input from the team on how you can all take the company forwards and improve working practices.
Keep everyone in the loop
Sharing information is paramount to making your team feel appreciated and included. Where possible have team meetings to bring them up to speed on any changes within the company and copy them into any memos and emails that are relevant to them. However, be mindful of just how many emails and memos you want them to read—there are only so many hours in a day!
Tackle problems together
When issues arise, get everyone around the table to brainstorm possible solutions. Don’t discount people because of their age or experience; often ideas can come from fresher pairs of eyes who aren’t bogged down in the routine and hierarchy.
Some team members may not be quite as confident as others at speaking up in a meeting, so having an open door policy where people can come and talk to you one on one, will encourage quieter people to voice their ideas and concerns.
Trust people to do their jobs
People generally work better when left to their own devices to find their best working practices, and unless they are doing something wrong or are seriously behind, trust that they will get the job done without any outside interference.
Praise, praise, praise
You cannot praise people enough, and particularly if someone has worked longer hours or taken work home with them, or secured an important contract or sale. Mostly a simple ‘thank you’ is enough to let people know you appreciate their efforts, but from time to time a lunch or small token will really show that you’ve noticed how much someone has contributed.
Remember to praise your team up the chain as well, mentioning to higher management levels successes that individuals have had.
Encourage job sharing and co-operation
Having colleagues learn and understand each other’s roles within the company works well for a number of reasons. Not only do the team members gain new skills, but also you have automatic cover if someone is ill or leaves the company.
There will often be times when one person is very busy, but others may not have such a heavy workload, in these instances getting everyone to pull together will demonstrate the effectiveness of teamwork.
Have lunch together once a week or go for a monthly staff night out. Having everyone getting to know each other in a less formal environment can only strengthen the team spirit and improve working relationships.
Host an annual ball or Christmas party where everyone can get dressed up and have a great night networking with their colleagues.
Truly listen to what your team have to say and where possible act upon it. Disregarding ideas or concerns out of hand will only result in a lack of trust and a breakdown in communication.