Will your team be defeated or inspired by the next storm? When the sky is blue and the ocean is calm, most teams are able to work effectively and harmoniously as a cohesive whole. However, the true test of a team’s capacity to aid and support one another inevitably comes in the face of a brewing storm. Authentic and effective team collaboration is necessary for survival in open water: by working together a team will help each other to swim, but divided they will sink. Companies are facing increasingly complex issues, most of which cannot be tackled without a consistent free flow of information and ideas. It is only through such a sharing of knowledge, skill sets and perspectives that a team can deal with these challenging issues. Silo mentality across business units, departments and functions will often generate operational problems and inefficiencies. In turn, this can be attributed to ignorance, lack of trust, or, even worse, rivalry between groups. Without a collaborative workplace culture, it is safe to assume that clients will suffer from issues in either product or service quality. Furthermore, the client will likely notice this disunion, and the lack of team spirit can be contagious. Working as a united collective gives every team member a strong sense of belonging that will empower and motivate people. This will enable them to give their best individually, and the team effort will inevitably be worth more than the sum of their parts. In the face of adversity, the strength of a team inspires confidence and courage. It reduces the stress associated with the fear of failure, which can hinder progress. Contributing to collective work gives people a sense of ownership and self-worth, which is key to creating physical and emotional engagement within the workplace. Furthermore, in such an environment people will gravitate towards openness and creativity, creating a fertile ground for innovation and improvements.

Laying the foundations for authentic teamwork that will yield success

  1. Create the right environment: A caring and supportive environment with a genuine respect for people will allow individuals to feel safe and to share their ideas openly.
  2. Generate a common purpose: Shared objectives will create a sense of momentum and emphasise the importance of mutual support and collaboration in the workplace.
  3. Establish clear accountability: Every team member should have a clear understanding of what they are expected to contribute towards realising the team’s objectives, and should be held accountable. This shows individuals that their contributions are valued and important
  4. Promote equality between peers: Make sure that everybody has a say in equal measure. Those who are generally quiet should be invited to share for the benefit of the group.
  5. Delegate wisely: As a leader, you need to be ready to genuinely delegate. It is essential to resist an eventual urge to micro-manage.
  6. Encourage and empower: Instilling your team members with a sense of confidence and self-worth will allow them to exceed expectations.