We spend around a third of our lives at work, and so a lot of our time is spent around the people we work with. Forming great work relationships can help to make work fun, and you won’t be feeling like you’re constantly waiting for the end of the day or the weekend. Here are some tips to improve how you feel about your team, and to help you work better together:
- Explore your feelings, and your own behaviour, towards your colleagues: If your colleagues seem to be difficult or hard-work, they may actually be reacting to signals that you are giving off. Perhaps you are not meaning to give off these signals, as much of our communication is subconscious. It might be difficult to face, but you may be the very root of the problems within your team and the first step to improving this is by discovering it.
- Encourage and welcome advice: If relationships are suffering, or you’re finding it difficult to work well with your team, ask your manager for advice. Rather than complaining about your colleagues, which likely won’t go down well with your manager, ask them for advice on how they think you could improve certain relationships. They will appreciate the fact you are trying to improve the team dynamic and will demonstrate to them that you are a true team player.
- Learn to realise that humans reciprocate things: If you are willing to happily help people straight away, they will naturally feel a necessity to return the favour. Ask your colleagues directly if they need help with anything if you aren’t too busy, or engage in another random act of kindness towards them. Your colleagues are likely to reciprocate this, and it will improve the way your team works together.
- Make an effort with your team: When people don’t seem to get on or work well in a team it could purely be down to the fact that they don’t really know each other. The best way to solve this is to spend time together outside the office. If your manager arranges a team night out or social activities outside of work make the effort to go along. Or if they don’t, suggest it to your colleagues. Find out what you have in common away from the office.
- Discover people’s challenges and obstacles: Everyone is different, and personal reasons are not the only things that may prevent a colleague from working well with you. Maybe they don’t have the necessary training to do a great job, and if this is the case offer to train them or help them in any way you can. Understand that some people are extroverts whilst others are introverts; some people simply don’t get their energy from constantly being around others. Making an effort to understand each of your colleagues different needs, challenges and traits is key to improving relationships with them.
A high performing team operates much like a small business, and teams that work well together can do wonders for the business as a whole. Here are some tips to get the most out of your team:
- Share information and engage your employees: Employees should know their company’s strategy, purpose, values and mission. Engage with employees and show them where the business is heading. Tell them how the business is performing against competitors and keep them up to date with developments. If you share lots with your employees your team will feel valuable, and naturally they will develop a deeper connection with the business. Help them to look at the bigger picture and how their roles contribute to this. If you show your team the link between their daily efforts and how they contribute, your team will actually want to work harder and perform better.
- Organise team building sessions: People work better together if they get along. It’s just part of our natural human instinct. As a manager it is up to you to organise events that will help foster relationships between your team. Big or small, formal or informal, everything counts. Organise sporting events or days out doing activities together. Monthly lunches or team nights out are another more relaxed way of building and strengthening your team.
- Align your team: Individuals within teams can easily end up going in different directions, even though they are trying to accomplish similar things. As a manager it is your duty to align your team into a single direction. Seven people working together and charging in the same direction will succeed more often and more consistently than seven disjointed people doing their own thing.
- Set the pace: Set attainable targets and goals in small quantities, then add in more as your team accomplishes them. Do not set an overwhelming amount at once; you’ll know if you’ve set too many as some will lay dormant with no action.
- Make your team’s job easier, not harder: To allow a positive mindset to flourish amongst your team, avoid criticism and hard control. Support their creative processes and, where possible, provide them with the tools necessary to do a better job. As a manager you should remove as many hurdles as possible and help your team to achieve their goals as quickly as possible as well. It will also enhance their confidence to know and recognise that their manager is behind their ideas.