Turn Staff Into a Team

Many business leaders make the mistake of assuming their employees will naturally act as a team. This perception, more times than not, couldn’t be further from the truth. When people from different backgrounds and with different talents come together, the natural instinct for many is to dwell on what sets them apart and focus on what makes themselves especially valuable to the company compared to everyone else. It’s human nature.

The goal—and role—of management is to take a naturally dysfunctional group of people and develop them into a fine-oiled machine firing on all cylinders. This takes a combination of great leadership and a solid gameplan.

The following is a cheat sheet guide for how to turn staff into a team:

Common Ground

It’s important for employees to have common ground to work upon. At a time when virtually all work is conducted through digital means, common ground can be hard to find. With that said, it’s not impossible. For example, a business-optimized note taking app that everyone can access serves as a suitable virtual environment for staff to work together. While it’s still important for different departments and sections to be separate for the sake of workflow, a common ground for everyone to share their insights and showcase their contributions is a great way to unite your workforce.

Conflict Resolution

Disagreements and full-on arguments within a group of people is an inevitability. Having management practices and qualified leaders in place to provide quick and effective conflict resolution is essential. In theory, the ability to address conflict should go right to the top; arguments between workers and managers—or between multiple managers—will need someone higher up to act as an arbiter.

Community Mentality

A key component of teamwork is everyone feeling like they’re part of a team. Developing a strong sense of community among staff is one of the fundamental aspects of successful management. While company outings and seminars are useful, they aren’t guaranteed to help nourish a sense of community within the workplace. The honest truth is that managers must seize on intangible aspects of company culture and make them the driving force behind how things operate on a day-to-day basis. Employees see the connection between company culture and productivity and feel an attachment to it, not unlike how someone sees similar connections when contemplating the community in which they live.

Chain-of-Command

It might sound a bit strict and militaristic, but crystallized chain-of-command is crucial for turning staff into a team. Executive officers devise a strategy, upper management devises a general plan, lower management divvies out the assignments, and employees put it all into action. Perhaps more importantly, this chain functions in reverse; employees identify problems with their assignments, lower managers take their concerns into consideration, upper managers assemble a list of problems, and executives decide how to respond.

Code of Conduct

In the world of Major League Baseball, those who find themselves drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals soon find themselves reading an 86-page book titled “The Cardinal Way.” It outlines the club’s expectations of players as well as those it expects of itself. A similar code of conduct should be required reading for your employees. It unites staff under an umbrella of shared understanding regarding the expectations of everyone involved. In a sense, it levels the playing field among employees at different levels of the command structure.

Teamwork rarely occurs naturally. It requires leadership and a plan of action. These are the factors in which managers make themselves vital to the success of an organization.