You have heard the phrase a million times in your life, but there is reason everybody says it. It’s because it is true. Why is teamwork so important? Does it really make a difference? What if I don’t like my coworkers? Here are some things to think about.
First, teamwork does not mean you need to be best friends. That is not the definition of teamwork. Teamwork is “the combined action of a group of people.” Nowhere in that sentence did I see the words ‘BFF for life.’ The best teamwork happens when that group of people combine not only their skills sets and ideas but give respect towards each other. The best ideas develop from two people with vastly different perspectives.
Team building is one of the most important and undervalued ways of running a business. In order to think creatively and introduce new ideas, people need to communicate and work together. When employees feel disconnected and alone, their brains don’t function at full capacity. One could have too much of a work load to think outside the box. Their ability to think creatively is confined by their basic tasks in front of them.
As stated before, you don’t have to be best friends to make teamwork successful. You do, however, need to respect each other, be understanding and build a relationship on trust and appreciation for good old fashioned brain storming and “spit balling.” Coworkers who know nothing about each other are less likely to feel comfortable with one another and will not share as many ideas, methods or resolutions. Building this relationship does not have to be difficult but it does take effort. How can one build a relationship?
First, make the vision of the company clear to everyone. Having a clear-cut vision brings everyone together with a common, unified purpose. MFP hangs their vision on just about every wall to remind everyone why we are here and why it is important to work together. In short, MFP’s vision is to serve God, serve families and to serve our customers.
Second, make the employees’ responsibilities clear. This is what different divisions and department leaders are for. Duties need to be broken down, so each member knows exactly how their role feeds into the vision. Let the employees know that what they are doing is important and effects the outcome of the company. Each quarter, MFP sits down with each employee, not only to go over their personal metrics, but to go over the entire company’s. This makes the employee see how their role affects the company as a whole.
Third, keep a positive culture. An attitude in a team can spread and determine the attitude of an entire company. Having members in a team who encourage and support each other tends to keep each other focused on the team outcome and less driven by individual motivations.
Finally, get to know your teammates. Spend time with them and do so with an understanding attitude. Eat lunch with the team or grab a drink after work. The more you know the co-worker, the more you will share ideas and the more feedback you will receive, all for the benefit of the company. MFP also does a good job with this by providing parties, Christmas events, golf tournaments, lots of grill outs, and every so often a team building minute-to-win-it exercise during lunch.
Once you see your company’s vision and know the importance of your role, it is easier to strive to work together to accomplish the goal your team was given. Creating relationships and communicating makes everyone’s jobs easier and is that much more rewarding!