How to Build a Culture of Teamwork

Teamwork within a specific department is always desirable, yet when it comes to adopting a companywide culture of teamwork, sometimes businesses fall short. But in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, can anything short of full-on collaboration truly help a business grow?

Here at Baillie Lumber, teamwork factors into all our business processes. From our team of lumber traders to our service personnel, from green hardwood lumber buyers to kiln supervisors, teamwork is essential. Why? Because working together helps us consistently provide the best possible experience for our customers. DSC1691

As we continuously try to improve, we recognize the importance of building a culture that promotes teamwork, here are a few tips we find helpful to keep in mind:

Always communicate. Teamwork thrives when everyone within the organization is on the same page. Encourage employees to communicate frequently, both with each other and with their supervisors. Provide tools from texting to video chat so that team communications can prosper. You never know where the next great collaborative idea will come from.

Leaders should listen. Speaking of communicating, there’s a lot to be gained by listening closely to what team members have to say. Invite teams to speak up and, when appropriate, take action based on what they tell you. At the very least, “active listening makes team members feel their opinions and input are valued, not ignored.”

Walk the talk at the top. Your employees will feel more motivated to actively collaborate if they see this behavior taking place at senior levels of leadership. As part of your ongoing efforts to instill a culture of collaboration, share examples of projects or initiatives where senior executives actively worked together to achieve a fruitful outcome.

Give the team an opportunity to tackle a big challenge. As teamwork becomes more grounded in the company, look for important organizational problems or challenges a team of creative employees can tackle on its own. Offer basic guidelines prior to assigning this task, “but giving the team enough latitude to operate on its own can result in unexpected (and highly welcome) solutions.”

Keep people thinking about the “big picture.” As we’ve noted, teamwork grows out of a sense that everyone’s working towards the same objective. This is more difficult to achieve when employees lack a clear understanding of a company’s core values and mission. Whenever possible—at staff meetings, in executive emails, etc.—demonstrate a clear link between team projects and your organization’s broader goals. This helps people understand that the roles they play have a direct bearing on the company’s overall success and growth.

Take the team off-site. Teams cohere with “fun-oriented” teambuilding activities, which often work best when they take place off-site. Whether it’s gathering to watch a sporting event together, enjoying friendly competition at the bowling alley or just getting together for lunch at a popular restaurant, letting people relax in an informal setting helps strengthen bonds and energizes employees to achieve more once they’re back in the workplace.

Celebrate team achievements. A key element of a culture of teamwork is celebrating the team’s efforts. Monetary incentives are always greatly appreciated, but other types of recognition help build the right spirit as well. The Balance suggests putting team members’ names “in a drawing for company merchandise and gift certificates” and encouraging team members “to share their success story at your weekly company meeting.” Rewards and celebrations reinforce a collaborative attitude while also demonstrating your gratitude for a job well done.

Every employee’s contribution is valuable, but when a team of exceptional individuals coheres into a creative force, there’s no telling what can be achieved.

Have you promoted a culture of teamwork at your organization? What methods did you find effective? We would love to hear them! 

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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