Teams that work well together are happier and get more done quickly. Conversely, lack of teamwork can present all kinds of challenges, including lack of productivity, poor communication, and disorganization. To help you maximize the effectiveness of your team, we compiled a list of the best teamwork ideas from the pros.
Check out the following 23 teamwork tips from industry experts:
1. Schedule One-on-One Feedback Sessions
Yaniv Masjedi, CMO, Nextiva
Communication is key: I highly recommend you schedule regular one-on-one feedback sessions with each of your teammates. Remain open-minded, and allow them to contribute their true thoughts and opinions. This will improve your team’s performance tremendously, as it not only brings out real opportunities to improve output quantity and quality, but it also lifts team morale.
2. Capitalize On Team Members’ Strengths
Sean Douglas, Founder, U.S. Air Force Veteran, The Success Corps
Capitalize on the member’s strengths. As a military veteran and drill instructor, this was essential to picking leaders in basic training and creating a highly effective, highly productive team. The same principle applies to business. Capitalizing on each person’s strengths and integrating them into one team allows the team to function at its highest capacity. Teams that focus on their strengths and operate this way are 36% more productive than those that do not focus on each team member’s unique abilities.
3. Ask For Help
Juliana Stancampiano, CEO, Oxygen
Encourage people on your team to reach out and ask for help if they are working on something and are stuck on a concept or idea. A rule of thumb to consider: Don’t spend more than 15-30 minutes thinking about something before reaching out to a teammate and saying “I am stuck. Will you talk this through with me?” Amazingly, that one small activity usually results in the person figuring out the path forward in far less time than if they had tried to figure it out on their own.
4. Give Credit to Your Team Members
Stefan Kollenberg, CMO, Crescendo
To foster an inclusive team environment, give credit to team members’ recent success, hard work, or kindness. A survey found 59% of employees view receiving credit as a crucial element of feeling included at work.
Evan Tarver, General Manager, Fit Small Business
Project management tools keep teams focused on the most important tasks on track to completing projects. Monday.com is a great cloud-based team and project management tool that allows teams to stay focused on the most important tasks. Features include a colorful Kanban board, time tracking, and tools to support Agile sprints. Sign-up for a free trial to see if Monday.com is right for you.
6. Prioritize Your Team’s Work
Hena Kausar, Senior Associate Content Marketing, Mettl
Prioritization is the key to getting most of your work done. When you are working on a team, you have to decide, plan, and strategize what you want the team to work on first. Choosing one task or step at a time is an effective strategy that helps teams focus while making them more efficient. For instance, I have allotted scheduled time slots for a variety of tasks like planning and strategizing, checking emails, completing specific project tasks, and taking breaks to get the most out of the day.
7. Conduct Huddle Meetings
Kelly Anderson, Marketing Director, Wealth Continuum Group
We have a time every week that we block on our calendars to have a “huddle meeting” where we meet and discuss where we are in the plan of the individuals we are working with. We speak openly about any hurdles or wins we are having and then set a game plan to keep moving their plan forward. Little wins that turn into big wins at the end of the year.
8. Use Face-to-Face Communication Tools in Virtual Environments
Deanne Duncan, Team Lead Catalyst, DCA Virtual Business Support
Body language and facial expressions often portray what letters and numbers do not. We have implemented Zoom, a video conferencing tool, for training and meetings. This has helped tremendously. We have the ability to screen share and see our employees faces while working. With new employees, we have weekly video conferencing to check in with them until they are comfortable with their clients. It truly is the only way to really function, especially in a virtual business.
9. Offer Team Incentives
Matthew Ross, COO, My Slumber Yard
Instead of rewarding individual performance, we make goals and prizes based on overall team performance. This gets each individual focused on what he or she can accomplish in order to help the team as a whole. It also makes each employee more accountable. If one person is not pulling their weight, the other team members will take notice. It also makes employees more willing to help their colleagues if they see them struggling with a certain assignment or task.
Allison Potts, Sales Editor, Fit Small Business
The advantage of using a customer relationship management tool (CRM) like Insightly is that teams can support existing customers and develop leads within the same system. This gives cross-functional teams a more complete view of the chain of events leading up to a sale or service issue while keeping everyone on the same page. Click here to learn more about Insightly and to sign-up for a free trial.
11. Establish Clear Processes & Use Data in Decision-making
Alessio DeLuca Stetzer, Digital Transformation Manager, Florence Consulting Group
Clear processes are at the heart of a good team. Not knowing what to do when X happens causes anxiety and ultimately a stressed out work environment. Processes must be written down and continually optimized with team brainstorming sessions. Also, when it comes to decision-making, always use data to support your decisions. Data is everywhere and easily accessible. It gives you a real edge in the decision-making process.
12. Set Concise & Realistic Goals
William Leslie, Team Leader, Nelson Frank
When setting goals, it’s important to be concise, realistic and positive. Be precise with exactly what you want to achieve and when you want to do it, so that your success can be measured accurately. Nobody likes vague targets that are hard to define or measure. Be exact so that there is no confusion or underachievement. Also, don’t just pluck a number from thin air. Set goals that are achievable, and work out exactly how you and your team can get there. Going for something headline-grabbing might impress people initially, but unless you have an incredibly driven team it will almost always result in poor morale as you struggle to make it happen. Targets are there to push people, not demotivate them.
13. Use Reliable Group Chat With Virtual Teams
Anastasia Illiou Senior Content Manager, Senior Market Advisors
Whether you have a team of two or a team of 20, healthy communication is crucial. Email is all fine and good, but you and your team have to be able to quickly ask and answer questions and chat about projects throughout the day. Google Hangouts provides an easy way to do that, or you can take it a step further and use Slack for your instant messaging. Slack allows you to easily share images and files with each other and allows you to organize your chats into channels.
14. Get To Know Your Team Outside of Work
Morgan Lathaen, Marketing & Brand Coordinator, ThumbPrint
When your team members trust you, they feel comfortable taking risks and taking action. Team members also aren’t afraid to share their ideas. The best way to gain trust is to hang out with team members outside of the office and use that time to get to know each other.
Laura Handrick, HR Writer, Fit Small Business
Companies with highly effective and high performing teams invest in ongoing training to keep their teams sharp and to keep team values and necessary skills top of mind. One of the most scalable ways to deliver training across teams is online with a learning management system like TalentLMS. TalentLMS allows you to quickly create and deploy training courses. It also supports different learning models like blended learning and “gamification” for friendly competition amongst your team. Try TalentLMS today with a free account to see if it meets your needs.
16. Make Sure Your Team Understands Objectives
Chuck Naish, Founder, Residential Foundation Repair
Make sure your team understands the daily objectives and is motivated to complete them. This can be achieved by holding daily meetings at the start of the day to address any goals for that particular day, and how you plan on achieving those goals. One way to get team members excited to do their best work is to implement motivational tactics during these morning meetings, such as providing incentives and rewarding good work.
17. Give Your Team Ownership
Jeff Sameth, President/Owner, Masters Touch Pest Solutions
The best way to increase team productivity is to give ownership to the team, letting them make their own decisions, and making them accountable for the work they produce. When individuals are accountable for their own work, they begin to see their work in a different light that shows them how their contributions affect the whole team.
18. Encourage Debate
Niraj Rout, CEO, Co-founder, Hiver
Whenever people work together on a team, you always need to be cautious of “groupthink” ―
a major pitfall that can have disastrous effects. So I encourage each employee in my company to voice their opinion even when they disagree with everyone in the room. I have made sure this is a cultural value that is woven into the fabric of my company. I also encourage all teams at my company to debate problems out. When there is a team that disagrees, the team should always come together and question things to see if there is a better way to do something or to solve a problem.
19. Proactively Discuss Diversity & Create A Safe Space
Christabel Khumalo, Owner, Christabel Consultant
You don’t have to wait until you have HR complaints around diversity. As managers, be proactive. Create a safe place where your team can sit and discuss the great things that make them diverse. Set the tone for a positive outlook. The problems surrounding diversity issues are generally centered around lack of knowledge. There’s no one more knowledgeable about their diverse makeup than the individual. You literally have a bunch of experts on your team ― self-experts who know who they are and what makes them so unique. So, leaders, proactively create a safe place and start having a conversation with your teams about diversity.
20. Use Workflow Management Tools
Rueben Yonatan, CEO, GetVOIP
With tools like Asana, we can provide the necessary oversight, without unnecessarily pinging team members who aren’t involved in a project. We can also track the progress of a project, and tag the appropriate person when it is their turn to jump in. If you set up your workflow management system properly, it becomes a streamlined affair that saves time and we avoid countless unnecessary questions and even whole meetings by having a single platform wherever every team member can access the information they need to execute their part of a project.
21. Create A Safe & Open Work Culture
Sylvia Melena, Owner, Melena Consulting
Create a safe and open work culture where the people on your team are not only encouraged but compelled to share their perspectives, even when they differ from yours. When people disagree with you, don’t take it personally. Get excited. This is an opportunity for you to get their honest input and ideas to make your company the best it can be.
22. Use Tools for Collective Ideation
Julia Myllylä, Marketing Manager, Viima
The best teams are constantly looking to get better and come up with new ideas and improvement suggestions all the time. However, most ideas are easily forgotten without the right tools and a systematic process for managing them.
New ideas coming from employees are gathered in one place, which increases productivity and the flow of information. Team members can like, comment and evaluate ideas, which makes prioritization of these new ideas a lot easier. Making innovation transparent has led to a continuous stream of great ideas and each of our team members has been pleased with having the opportunity to voice their opinions and make a real impact on our business.
23. Use The Pomodoro Technique For Productivity
Samuel Johns, Human Resources Specialist, Resume Genius
I’ve recently introduced my team to the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves completing 25 minutes of hyper-focused work followed by a five-minute break. Each completed cycle is referred to as a pomodoro. Integrating this routine into our day has helped us maximize our focus and therefore increased our efficiency and productivity levels. It’s most effective when introduced teamwide, because everyone’s 25 minutes of work are synchronized. That way, no one is interrupted by colleagues taking a short break — and teammates can catch up together during their five-minute break.
In an environment where business is fast paced and highly competitive, teamwork is critical to getting more done quickly. Because highly functional teams are so important, it is crucial to have tools, strategies, systems, approaches, and mindsets to establish and maintain highly effective teams. By trying some of these teamwork tips from the pros, you are bound to find some that will add value to your team.