Encouraging Collaboration and Teamwork Within An Organisation
Some employees are quite productive when working individually; however, they fail to engage in teamwork and group activities.
A problem often seriously arises when promoting one of these employees to a managerial position in which they have to oversee the work of others, or when training a new joiner, as they seem to have trouble passing on their knowledge to others and communicating with them comfortably. Bayt.com’s most recent Employee Loyalty, Job Satisfaction and Engagement in the Middle East survey shows the importance of engaging employees so that they enhance group performance and increase overall company loyalty towards their company as well as overall employee satisfaction. How can you make very introverted employees more open to collaborating with others, and transform them into proactive dynamic team players? Here are a few tips from the career experts at Bayt.com:
1- Spend some time getting to know your employees better: You can go out for lunch with your team leader and initiate a casual talk with them so that you can get to know them more and understand what it is that truly motivates them and pushes them forward. This type of conversation will give you clear insight into their character and will help you determine their key strengths and weaknesses, as well as their essential performance-enhancing triggers. As a result, you will ideally be able to place your leader within a team that best matches their mentality and personality traits.
2- Invest in development programs: There are several types of development programs which are primarily designed to assist employers in developing their leadership and managerial teams. Invest in courses and workshops that train employees how to become better managers and better leaders and role models for team members and subordinates. Being a leader is not about learning to give orders but about being an inspiring figure others are willing to learn from, emulate and follow.
3- Build synergy: Introduce your employees to the graceful concept of “Synergy”! The idea is basically that if two employees work individually, each at their own pace, they will produce a certain output; however their outputs are maximized when they come to work together. With synergy, he output of merging several employees’ efforts together as a team should be higher than their combined outputs having worked individually. Make sure everyone is aware of this concept and goal, so that they can appreciate and value their colleagues’ efforts and ideas, and understand that the company’s targets and objectives are achieved in the most optimal manner when they are working as a cohesive team.
4- Develop social skills: One way to ensure that your employees are active team players is by engaging them in social activities. Social skills are like any other set of skills that can be acquired by time and practice. You can hold monthly culture events for the company’s employees, or those belonging to a specific department, in which they can bring their families and perform group activities altogether. The idea is not to ‘’force’’ the employee to engage in a social activity, but rather to make them more comfortable when dealing with people, initiating actions and sharing ideas and perceptions. Ideally this will encourage interaction and in turn nudge the employees to become more social with time.
5- Let them know that their opinions do matter: Become open to new ideas and invite your employees over to share their own insights out loud. If the employee feels that their good ideas are seriously considered and are being implemented, they might well come up with new ones later on and feel more comfortable with speaking up and sharing their own views with others. Being heard creates a sense of confidence and comfort for a person, which in turn will affect their conversational and social skills largely and will contribute to them developing stronger leadership and managerial skills.
6-Try a matchmaker role: People can be like jigsaw pieces where there is always a best match for every person. Place your employees in the groups in which you believe that they fit best with others who share or complement their mentality, skills, workstyle, aptitudes and personal attributes. This will facilitate collaboration and sharing views and and should improve the group’s overall synergy and performance. Of course there is not always an absolutely perfect fit to be found immediately and sometimes playing matchmaker is a luxury you may not be able to afford given a specific project’s parameters or general organisational constraints.
7- Encourage taking time to disconnect: Some people prefer collaborating with others with similar interests online by engaging in online games, message boards, forums, social blogs etc. A person’s continuous online presence and reliability on social networking websites for socialization and sharing might propel them to become more and more introverted. Encourage them to use their strengths in socializing over the Internet to build instead stronger relationships within the work environment to which they belong by making sure that they do disconnect from their virtual life during the day. This can be done by encouraging group lunches during the break hour, or encouraging attending community or cultural events with work colleagues or even by creating fun sports and team-building events after work. This should foster a feeling of community and bring out benefits of face-to-face interaction both on the personal and professional levels.
8- Create an atmosphere of trust and open communication: Trust can only be built through respectful interaction and cooperative teamwork between employees. By continuously professionally engaging employees and setting the bar high where it comes to interpersonal skills and communications standards, others are encouraged to do the same. Survey after survey at bayt.com have showed the importance of open communication channels and organizational transparency to build loyalty and trust and contribute to productivity and longevity with a company. Build trust through consistently open respectful professional communications and watch this kind of open communication trickle all the way across the organization and permeate it at every level. Where an employee builds a sense of trust with the company, they will also build a sense of loyalty and engagement and this will better ensure the company’s overall goals are met in every dimension and true leadership is better allowed to flourish.
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