Are You Properly Managing the Team Players?

Google, Apple, your kindergarten teacher and college professor have a commonality: they tout Teamwork. Many organizations claim it’s necessary for success, too. CareerBuilder reported that being ‘team-oriented’ was one of the top 5 most popular soft skills in 2014 with 60% of companies interested in candidates who possess the trait. Well, that’s settled; hire individuals who value workplace Teamwork and there’s no way to fail. Managers wish it were so simple. Here, we explore how to manage a team, those who value Teamwork and what managers should be doing to keep them happy and engaged.


Who values Teamwork?

Those who value Teamwork generally prefer to work with others over working alone and promote group synergy. When they or the company is experiencing a challenge or problem, they would rather put heads together than go heads down to solve it. These characteristics are usually easier to spot in employees, but identifying pro-team candidates for hire might be more challenging without psychometric assessments, but chances are, those who value Teamwork will have held managerial positions or will answer interview questions with anecdotes of previous coworkers, leaders and people-focused hobbies. 

Collaboration is Truly Key

Big names support Teamwork and that’s why all companies should support it, right? Wrong. Some industries or lines of work simply don’t need ‘pods’ dedicated to collaborative learning or weekly ‘committee’ meetings. Some positions simply call for a task to be completed. However, if you’re in the business of innovation, promote creativity and would love to see new and big ideas constantly pouring out your doors, then it’s time to adapt the paths of Google and Apple to your own company’s processes.

Lack of collaboration or ineffective communication was what 96% of respondents said caused most workplace failures. Some employees need to lean on their co-workers for new ideas or better approaches to problems and the more human or creative the job, the more need there is for Teamwork. 

Can’t be Tamed

A majority (95%) of employees who have worked on teams recognize Teamwork serves a critical function in the workplace, but 70% admit to working in a dysfunctional unit and could very well be the reason that a reported 75% of employees would rather work alone than with a team.

Employees, whether they enjoy collaboration or not, cannot simply be bossed into their role. There must be a balance between promoting Teamwork and demanding it. As demonstrated by every classroom group project, the best way to demotivate an individual who likes Teamwork is by enforcing it.

What they need from you

Knowing what people need to succeed is every manager’s highest aspiration and largest nightmare. Collaborators may know what it takes to get the office introvert out of his or her shell, but that doesn’t mean they have a clue what makes themselves more productive. Being pushed into teams can be a demotivator, so the best way to encourage collaboration begins with the workplace environment. 

Here are some ways to kickstart the process:

  • An open space that can comfortably sit a few people. Cubicles encourage solitude and concentration, while commons promote team innovation and communication.
  • A visual board, digitally or on the office wall, that clearly states challenges, goals and timelines. Label any key people who manages the project to ensure all know who to approach with ideas or concerns. Also label deadlines so no one loses sight of the finish mark.
  • A company intranet. Like social media, the tool will stir conversation and idea sharing. This is especially important for those companies who have teleworking for their employees.
  • Allow failures. When there’s room for failure, there’s also room for amazing innovation and generally they go hand in hand.

Managers want well-structured and productive Teamwork. In fact, 86% of managers rate Teamwork as a critical skill. Luckily, employees feel it is just as crucial. If your employees value collaboration, then their job satisfaction could be resting on the way they are managed and lead through the organization.

Building a great team goes far past simply setting up an intranet or dedicating an office corner to collaboration. Uniting varying personalities and work values can be disastrous if not approached with diligence.

Bio: Ryan Mead

Ryan Mead is the CEO and Founder of Vitru, an employee assessment tool that provides recruiters, hiring professionals, coaches and managers with the insights they need to manage their teams and make better hiring decisions. Powered by science, yet practical and easy to use for a variety of teams, Vitru works for organizations of all size. Want to learn more? Visit our blog or sign up for a free team building personality test account to assess your team today! Tweet me at@GoVitru

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