Most working women spend almost as much time on the job as they spend at home with their families. While building deep relationships with your loved ones is important, finding ways to play nicely with your co-workers is equally essential.
A strong team affects more than the bottom line. It can help you complete your job, reach your goals and feel more satisfied in the workplace. However, every team has those one or two people who remain negative or tuck themselves away — hopefully, this isn’t you. You’ll also deal with opposing personalities and differences in belief across the group.
How can you cultivate teamwork when you have people seemingly at odds with one another? Start with yourself and work outward.
1. Complete Your Work Efficiently
The only person whose behavior you can ultimately dictate is your own. Your priority should be buckling down and consistently completing your work on time and to a high standard. Your co-workers will appreciate that you hold up your end of the tasks and don’t have to spend extra time making up for your poor work ethic. You’ll build trust more quickly when you show up and get the job done.
2. Know Your Co-workers
A thriving team is at least on a first-name basis with one another. If you can’t tell Black-coffee Betty from Bedhead Blair, you struggle to find your place in the workplace machinery.
Make an effort to get to know your co-workers. Have an idea of their strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Do they have a family or a pet? What do they do for fun?
In the process, you’ll humanize each person and grow to care for them professionally, and their relationships with you will help move the team forward.
3. Establish Effective Communication
Effective communication is a cornerstone of teamwork. You know how much you hate it when the company calls a full-blown meeting for something that could have been handled in a two-line email, so don’t be that person. Opt for quick messages when possible so you don’t waste anyone’s time.
4. Be the Voice of Positivity
Do you like working with the guy who sticks to himself and grumbles under his breath with every new assignment? How about the gaggle of ladies who love nothing more than to spread gossip at every turn? These personalities can be toxic in the workplace, especially when trying to cultivate an effective team.
Exude the positivity you’d like to see in your co-workers. Give compliments, treat people respectfully and consider every setback a learning opportunity. Hopefully, your can-do attitude and treatment of others will begin to reflect on you from the rest of the team.
5. Address Conflicts Quickly
Minor issues between colleagues can become serious problems if left to fester. If you’re in a conflict with a co-worker, attempt to resolve things between you as quickly as possible. Address them in person and see how you can fix your working relationship. Seek mediation from management or another colleague if you both think it might help.
Also, let your co-workers know you aren’t a gossip and you’ll ignore any that comes your way. Staying away from drama will benefit your work and keep it from spreading through the team.
6. Have Some Fun
Young children are typically more forgiving of each other’s differences and more capable of working together toward a common goal — as long as they’re not siblings. So, take a page from their book, learn to let loose and build a team like kids.
Organize a fun activity once a month for your co-workers to enjoy, like a game night, book club or sports. You’ll get to build your relationships on more than just shared paperwork.
7. Agree on Reasonable Expectations
Sit down together and set reasonable expectations to facilitate getting along with your co-workers and respecting one another. Perhaps you want a no-phone policy during team meetings or you’d prefer everyone to keep their shoes on at their desk. Take this time to address common complaints and create solutions as a team.
Cultivating Teamwork at Any Level
Building a team out of your co-workers is an essential skill, whether you’re the CEO or an entry-level employee. Start with changing your own behaviors and modeling what you’d hope to see from other staff members. Then you can work to build relationships and get everyone on board. You won’t regret your effort to cultivate a positive team environment.