Getting your employees to work as a team may seem daunting. When you look at their shortcomings, the poor communication or lack of effectiveness, you may think they can never change. They are good people, but they just don’t pull together.

Simple group dynamics tells us that the culture and behaviour of the group comes from the Leader. It is the Owner or Manager who puts the good practices, procedures and positive team culture in place. Changing how you do things will improve the group immediately. Work through the following steps sequentially, and use this as a ladder to getting your employees to work as a Team.

Step 1 Sell your Vision of the Team
Set out your expectations to the team. Gather them round in a Team Huddle, and tell them the type of team you would like us to be. Prepare your thoughts really well, so that you explain yourself clearly and positively. Use positive examples rather than negative, and paint the picture as a logical, but attractive prospect. Most team issues stem from an unclear vision of the type of team we need to be.

Step 2 Clarify your Purpose
Talk through your purpose as a team, and do this frequently. How do you make a profit? What is your purpose with Customers? Who are your Customer groups, and what is your role with each of these groups. Promote your purpose to the team at frequent intervals. Praise them when they are actively working towards that purpose.

Step 3 Identify goals
Identify very clear goals for each week and each month. Those goals should include the day-to-day throughput of work, and also the improvement goals for the week and the month. Make goals precise, with targets and deadlines. It should be possible to write each goal in one relatively short sentence. Encourage goal achievement, and celebrate all successes and milestones. Make a point of noticing good attitudes or behaviours, and praise these. Remember, if you praise something, it will be repeated.

Step 3 Bind the Team
A team is not a team unless they feel cohesive. To foster cohesiveness, one of the most powerful tools is the Team Huddle. This is a five-minute stand-up daily meeting where the Leader focuses and motivates the team for the day. The benefit for team building is that they are all looking at each other, and they can give input to the daily challenges or stressors. Also use social events, for example Pizza Friday, the monthly lunch out, or the celebration dinner. Think in terms of getting the whole team to interact in any way as a team to increase cohesiveness.

Step 4 Engage the Team in Goals, Plans and Strategies
The team is like any other issue in life. Don’t just get annoyed at the fact that they are not pulling together. Identify a very clear goal, and plan a strategy to achieve that goal. With a team, it is better if you can identify a clear goal to the team, and ask them to come up with a strategy. Write your goal up on a whiteboard or flipchart. Split the team into two or three sub-groups, and ask each sub-group to come up with a solution. You can then assess the solutions and pick the most appropriate. The team often come up with much better solutions that you would, and it is much more motivational for them to be engaged in this way.

Remember, the path to improving anything in life is to identify a vision of where you are going, and some clear goals to get there.

Author's Bio: 

Kate Tammemagi designs training in Managing People Training and provides all types of Manager Training.