By Damien Posterino, Head of Sales, South East Asia, Virgin Active
Businessmen all know that the secret to running a functional and profitable company is to nurture a working environment in which staff can work cohesively together as a team and perform at peak productivity levels.
Teamwork thrives when a corporation has cohesiveness and unity as its core values, with its staff willingly showing their commitment to achieve a mutual objective and acknowledge that no man is an island and are mature enough to accept and appreciate the differences between them and their fellow co-workers.
It is essential that staff recognise that a workforce is made up of different individuals with their own life experiences, points of views and problem-solving approaches. Having different perspectives help a workforce tackle projects from different angles and come up with solutions that are more well-rounded. Often times, what is perceived as being creative and/or innovative is simply an ability to look at the same issue or subject from a different angle or through another lens. More often than not, this is achieved through group discussions or consulting with one another as a sounding board.
Keeping communications open, honest and respectful facilitates a better appreciation of differences amongst co-workers. As a leader in your organisation, refrain from making any unnecessary or unconstructive remarks to help nurture an environment that promotes open discussions and constructive feedback. During discussions, give your staff the freedom to express their thoughts, opinions and proposed solutions and encourage them to practise deep listening – to pay attention to what others are saying and not pre-emptively make assumptions before they have finished talking.
In any workplace, a team with a sense of belonging to the company and a sense of familiarity with each other is more likely to perform more efficiently together and function more cohesively as one unit.
Team building exercises are a good way to give employees the opportunity to learn more about each other. For example, encourage your employees to engage in non-work-related conversations with one another during social events. The topics for conversation can be anything fun under the sun, from favourite cuisine and movies to holiday destinations to whatever their passion in life is – the only tip is to remember to keep it light in tone and engaging.
Alternatively, organise events and games which can be done as a group activity and facilitates team work and conversations amongst co-workers. Many organisations have held inter-department games and sports events, and these help staff foster better and stronger bonds with the people that they will be working with most closely. Group exercise activities are also another option to consider. Besides helping your staff live a balanced and active lifestyle, the positive encouragements and motivation they receive from each other builds solidarity and affirmation that they are all in it together, as part of a team.
Just as how Rome was not built in one day, a tighter knit team is not achievable with just one such exercise so organise these team building exercises as regular events in the work calendar.
The closer your team works together, the smoother any work project will run. It may seem profoundly simple but it can be very challenging and unachievable at the same time. Because it is not always the task at hand that hinders team performance, but often the relationships and the little things that happen from day to day.