We can achieve more in teams than as individuals.1 But while the old saying “there is no ‘I’ in team” may be true in a linguistic sense, it’s not true in more important ways. Teams are definitely made up of individuals. And getting those individuals to work as a team takes effort.
Managers who succeed in fostering teamwork do so by committing themselves to a few proven managerial tactics. The best of these include:
Nothing can tear a team apart quite as quickly as rumors and lying. To avoid this, you should set an example of honesty. If you don’t keep anything from your team and don’t lie, team members will be more likely to avoid such behaviors themselves.
Playing to Individual Strengths
Each member of your team is an individual with unique strengths and weaknesses. Take the time to identify each member’s core competencies and then assign tasks in such a way that promotes strengths while minimizing weaknesses. This can help every team member perform better and feel more integral to the team.
Specific goals are better than vague goals, and clear instructions are better than no instructions. While you want to leave room for creative problem-solving, you don’t want to create confusion about the task at hand or your expectations for the team. The better the team understands what’s required, the better they can work together.
Trusting Team Members
Micromanaging can make your team feel as if you don’t trust them. And if team members don’t feel trusted, they’re unlikely to do their best work or function well as a team. Make sure your supervision isn’t creating the sense that you think the team isn’t up to the task.
If a team member is performing poorly or if trouble arises in team cohesiveness, address the problem quickly. The sooner and more clearly you can provide corrective feedback, the more likely you are to prevent a problem from turning into a crisis.
Corrective feedback isn’t the only feedback you should provide. Make sure you also acknowledge success. When you tell team members exactly how their contributions are helping the team excel, you’ll help keep all team members motivated.
If you learn how to properly apply the tactics above, you can foster strong teams. But learning those tactics and others is difficult to do on your own. This is why so many managers choose to earn management degrees, such as those offered at Walden University. If you want to become a successful manager, Walden’s MS in Management, MS in Leadership, or Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program can help you gain the skills you’ll need.