Businesses have been severely disrupted over the last few months, yet budgets are tight and workloads high. Why would you think about improving your team effectiveness at the moment?
Why is it so important to bring teams together now?
Many people are worried about uncertainty and uncertainty affects morale. In different ways many people are affected by all sorts of uncertainties surrounding coronavirus, furloughing, working from home and returning to work. Then there’s the economic impact following Covid-19 and more.
A recent survey (please click here and add to it) shows many people are worried as they “rejoin” their team colleagues. This reintegration exists where some team members have been working from home, some working normally and some furloughed, as well as where the whole team have been working remotely.
Fears include “is my job still needed, as they existed without me”, “the newly returning staff aren’t up to speed”. One interviewee said to me “imagine returning from a ski accident, even knowing you’re fully healthy, there’s a lot of nervousness both worrying if you’ll be OK and your friends worrying if you’re up to it”
The cultural web (Johnson and Scholes, 1992) is a great model for culture within a team/ business. It looks at the effectiveness of how organisations work and deal with issues. It shows six areas which impact teams. In many businesses four of these have been strongly affected by recent changes to working patterns and uncertainty.
- Organisation structures
- Rituals and routines
- Power structure
- Stories and myths
With four out of six elements of culture working against you it could be an important time to bring teams together, reintegrating colleagues, dealing with underlying fears and improving team morale.
There are many good reasons for taking your team “out of” the normal working environment and getting them to think differently about work issues and helping them bond.
- The team away day: Waste of time of critical performance improver? Examines some of the pros and cons of away days.
- When the shiny baubles are gone, it’s just needles – looks at problems that beset team days.
But budgets and lack of desire for face to face events make away days problematic.
How can firms bolster team spirit without physically being together?
Now isn’t a good time to take the team out for a day. You might not even all be back in the normal workplace yet.There are three things you could do to help your team members, whether introvert or extrovert.
- Leadership: Taking time to help reassure, and reduce uncertainty at work. Creating a clear focus, regular contact through well run team meetings. Get into a regular team meeting habit right now. Answering the questions “what do you want us to do”, in a way that’s realistic. Regular, effective, team meetings will help here. For more team meeting ideas, click here.
- Listening: Taking time to listen to the fears of team members, so that these can be dealt with, where possible.
- Team working: Taking time to focus on the cohesiveness of teams is critical at a time when team members are facing uncertainty. It’s natural for team members to talk to each other about “what’s going on”, if the answers are negative this becomes the general story and builds a destructive culture. Getting teams to focus on the strengths of the individuals, how they can work together, creating new “stories and myths”, and “rituals and routines” can help create a more useful culture and increase team effectiveness.
None of these three activities have to mean being physically together.
If you are struggling to get more from your team, and want them to think more for themselves, click here to book a 15 minute slot in my diary and let’s discuss some ideas.