In today’s modern world, few people work entirely alone. Even with the rise of the so-called “gig economy” as a new future for business, people who take jobs that they carry out on their own are the “last mile” in a very intricate network of software. Teamwork and technology are what makes it possible for people to accept jobs on their phone.
Many of us, however, will work with people in an everyday work setting. If you’re managing that team, you need to ensure you do so in a way that promotes harmony and productivity. Here are a few ways you can do that with your team.
Promote Cooperation, Not Competition
While some business philosophies advocate the “survival of the fittest” approach, this is a sure-fire way to destroy teamwork and set your employees against each other. Advocating a philosophy of “everyone is your enemy here, so do what you can do impress me,” creates a hostile environment. Not only are people unwilling to work together, but they may also even sabotage each other to look less incompetent in the eyes of management.
When you foster an environment of teamwork, you create a workplace where people lift each other, not tear each other down. A person working on a “secret promotion project” that might take months of solo work can do it in weeks or days with the help of others, and the entire business can benefit.
One of the most damaging elements of any company is uncertainty. When a team doesn’t know what’s going on or doesn’t understand how things work, and this is a deliberate strategy on your part, it creates a very poor working environment.
Keep employees “in the loop.” Be open about policies, and show how those policies apply to everyone. If someone is promoted, for example, don’t be mysterious about the decision making process. If someone is disciplined or warned, show the policy violation, and be open about the process that led to the decision. Never leave workers feeling like they are working in a mysterious environment with secrets, rules, and regulations they don’t understand.
Perhaps the most important element of any good working environment and team management is a well-established policy of communication. Talk to your employees and see how they are doing, so you know what’s happening with your team. Be open to communication from them, so that if they have suggestions for changes or improvements, or concerns that they’d like to address, they know you are there to hear them out.
When employees feel that they don’t have a voice, and nothing they say will be heard, this creates an environment of apathy, with no investment in working hard for the good of the company. But when you encourage communication between yourself and your employees, and when you create an environment where employee communication among each other is a part of the culture, this creates a more reliable, easy to work with team.
When this is combined with other available tools, such as a good employee time clock app, you have a more efficient environment where a team works together, not against each other, or you.