How to Improve Teamwork as a Manager

How to Improve Teamwork as a Manager
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Improving the Work of Teams is Worth the Effort
Today, most work gets accomplished through teams.  And most teams at one point or another fall into ineffective patterns that can range from neglecting the big picture goals in favor of immediate short-term problems to holding meetings that are inefficient and maybe even unnecessary. If team leaders could significantly improve teamwork as a manager, a study by Bain of more than 1,000 companies claims you could be up to six times more likely to be a business performance leader. 

What It Takes to Improve Teamwork as a Manager
To improve teamwork as a manager requires focus on what issues deserve the time and effort of a team. It also requires discipline to ensure that the team is addressing its problems in the best way as they interact, collaborate, and make decisions together as a team. A team’s performance is an outcome of not just WHAT they work on but HOW they work together.

Four Ingredients to Improve Teamwork as a Manager
Here are four aspects of team interaction that are indicative of a high performing team. Do your managers have the confidence, competence, and motivation to:

  1. Create High Levels of Team Trust
    To trust a team member means that you can depend on them.  High trust working teams are confident that their coworkers will come through. They believe in each other’s ability and promise to do what they say they will do.

    Trust is the foundation for all positive relationships and when it is the basis for team interactions, the gears of teamwork mesh smoothly. No one needs to doubt or check up on another.  All team members know they can speak up, disagree, and be heard with respect. They know their value to the group and that diversity is welcomed for the broader experience and different perspective it brings.

    Do your teams have the psychological team safety required to be high performing?
  2. Create High Levels of Strategic Alignment and Commitment
    Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing teams.  When team members understand and believe in the strategic direction, they report high levels of personal and professional commitment to make it happen. 

    High levels of team alignment and commitment translate into clear and agreed-upon team goals and accountabilities, roles, team norms, processes, and expectations—all essential ingredients of a high performing team.

    Do your managers know how to build a great team at work?
  3. Ensure a Greater Reason Why
    In our new manager training programs, participants always talk about their best team experiences.  Without fail, the majority touch on a meaningful team purpose that focused on a greater good. Top team leaders and their teams look past self-interest and promote overall success.

    Are your managers creating a clear line of sight to what matters most?

The Bottom Line
When push comes to shove, it is less important who is on the team than how the team interacts and works together.  Teams that consistently demonstrate all three characteristics of success give their people and their organizations a leg up. Are your managers creating the conditions for team success?

To learn more about how to improve teamwork as a manager, download this Sample Team Charter Template

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