Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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5 ways to get your staff working as a team (and liking it!)

You either love working in teams…or, you don’t. It’s the same story for your employees. For some, teamwork comes naturally. Others need a little more coercion. Because, here’s the thing…teamwork is crucial to a successful organization. No one person can have all the skills needed to get the job done and to get it done well. We must rely on each other and the different talents that each individual brings to the table. That’s not always easy, especially in a world where the individual is typically the one who is rewarded and recognized.

We’re living in an increasingly individualist culture (thank you social media) and it’s getting even harder to get people to work together for the common good. When great minds work together, results are outstanding. So, how do we get there?

How do we get those who are hesitant to work in teams to understand the value and need for teamwork? How do we get everyone working together with the same goals in mind?

1. Set clear goals and expectations. For instance, assign your team/s some targets for a month and ask them to submit a weekly success report. It will provoke a sense among your team that they are accountable for their actions, thus motivating them to work better. Goal setting tech? Monday and Trello are our office favorites.

Remember, boss, this is a 50/50 effort and requires the commitment of a leader as well. Both the leader and employees have to work hard to achieve the milestone.

2. Connect, listen and prepare to resolve. One of the big mistakes a leader often makes is not listening to conflicts that happen in the office. Assuming they’ll resolve themselves or that they are petty roadblocks is a costly error.

As a leader, learn to listen and be aware of what’s going on around the office. It’s these conflicts that keep a lot of great employees from embracing teamwork. Be ready to mediate and offer resolutions. Try Mary’s 5-Minute Conflict Resolution Plan.

3. Bring the spirit. Team spirit, that is! Support each team member equally. The secret to this? Organize office activities that allow everyone a chance to participate and speak. Work to develop strong support and values among co-workers.

A great way to build spirit? Games. Games also boost energy, offer relief, and spread positive vibes in a supper stressed room. A leader should suggest games. Make them mandatory during free time, and you’ll see the difference in employees’ performance. Check out 12 awesome team building games.

4. Show some love. Who does not love appreciation? Create a healthy environment in the office by appreciating a team for their hard work.

If they have gone the extra mile to bring success to the firm, they deserve an extra dose of praise, too. It can be rewards, promotions, a success celebration, or anything that must encourage your team/s to perform better and stay dedicated. It will also promote a healthy competitive environment in the workplace. Here are 10 ways to show you’re grateful for hard work.

5. Encourage Communication. Employees need the right tools to work as a team. Twenty years ago, this was tough. Not today. There are countless communication tools on the market. Here are some of our favorites.

Provide your team with tools that will help them communicate more easily with one another. You should also be encouraging them to communicate clearly with each other, so every team member understands what needs to be done for a particular task or project. Keep everyone up-to-date when it comes to any changes in a project or other news. You want to help them feel included in understanding what is occurring. Some members of your team will naturally be either more or less vocal. Make sure everyone has a chance to let their voice be heard.

More than anything, be a positive influence and leader. Take a look around at the outstanding business leaders you admire. How did they get to where they are today? I’d bet it was through working well with their team and committing to the goals of the organization. Show your team that you are a team player yourself by modeling stellar work at an executive level. You’ll be amazed at what your staff is capable of.


  1. Rick Chess

    the quality and consistent of your writing continue to improve; thank you

    • Mary Kelly

      Thank you, Rick!


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