One Team One Fight - How Team Building Can Improve the Bottom Line

One Team, One Fight. This was something that every Soldier is taught regarding his fellow Soldiers (regardless of job, title, or unit type), those from other military branches, and our coalition partners. We would bend over backward to help our brothers and sisters when they ask.

Under the guise of a team concept, companies large and small often rally their employees to a common goal in hopes of a better bottom line. The problem is, there isn't any team building going on.

Instead of being one concerted effort with ideal people in certain positions working together, it's more of a winner takes all approach. This amounts to higher bonuses and pay. This is especially true with companies that have commission based salaries. Everyone's stepping on each other to make themselves look good.

That is not a team. Teams excel when everyone works in a concerted way, pushing towards a common goal without self-interest in mind.

To create a true team atmosphere here are some strategies:

1. Create Interdependent Teams - Don't pile all of your ALL-STARS in one group either. Spread the wealth. Give everyone(group) a chance to shine. Find and place your employees according to their skills (and their weaknesses). Encourage cross-training. And remember, you're only as strong as your weakest link.

2. Counseling and Feedback - Each member needs to know what their purpose is and that they are an integral and VERY important part of the team. They need to feel like they are needed. Also, it is imperative that an open door approach is taken here. Effective communication goes both ways, CONSISTENTLY. I can't emphasize that enough. Also, teach your team to communicate well with each other.

3.  Praise/Discipline the Team - A little praise and recognition go a long way. Be sure to recognize all departments on a regular basis, formally or informally. If you are constantly recognizing the same department at each quarterly or annual brief, say your exempt vs. non-exempt employees, or QA vs. Production, or whatever, you are only going to breed resentment when some one (or group) is consistently recognized. Even if the section or person hasn't had a significant impact on the overall mission, their work is important just the same and they need to know that it's important to you too. An honorable mention works just as well here.

4. Accountability - Hold your supervisors accountable for the actions (or lack thereof) of its team members. And have them do the same to their subordinates. Nothing tears apart a team more than one or two guys doing all the work while Joe Shmoe screws around and milks the clock all day. This also falls in line with number two. If someone isn't acting right, tell them and make an on the spot correction. Don't expect someone to fix themselves if one, they don't know they messed up and two, they know they messed up and now think they can get away with it. It also doesn't help to wait 9 months until their annual review to make a correction. By ignoring it, you only enforce bad behavior.

5. Communication - Your employees need to know what's going on across the company. Just because you know, doesn't mean they do. And don't ever assume they know.

6. Timeliness - Enforce punctuality and for heaven's sake, use a schedule and hold folks to it. This applies to management and staff too.This will do a few things. It will create an expectation amongst your subordinates and supervisors and improve discipline.

The bottom line is if you want your organization to like a tight run ship it has to be treated like one. From the top down.

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