How to Build a Team that Works

Do you remember that old saying from school?


As cheesy as it is (we cringed too), there may be there is a lesson to be learned from that age-old acrostic. True, it’s not applicable in all situations, and some people are definitely best left to their own devices, but at some point throughout our careers, most of us will need to work or liaise with others.

To some this ability is taken for granted, for others it doesn’t come as easily; you may not have thought it to be the case but learning to work as part of a team is in fact a skill, and it can be an extremely valuable one.

Even those in senior or management positions, who may not directly function within a team themselves, will see the benefits of promoting an inclusive, supportive and therefore productive ‘team spirit’ culture amongst their employees.

For roles or businesses that require staff to work in close quarters or in contact with one another, creating a good team atmosphere can have many benefits. Just a few examples include:

The creation of an environment in which knowledge can be shared. This is a great benefit for businesses no matter how much or how little training their staff receive. Each team has a wealth of experience amongst its members, so promoting a team atmosphere at work will ensure that each employee has ongoing access to this pool of knowledge and peer coaching.

Talent and skill sharing. Whether individuals learn skills on the job or bring them to the company, in a team environment, workers can acquire skills from one another. Many skills and talents can also be complemented by those of others. For example, if a task requires a variety of skills, by creating a strong team there will always be someone available to cover all bases.

Increased trust amongst co-workers. This speaks for itself, but if colleagues can trust one another, they know that they can rely on the people around them for support and help in getting the job done. Trust will also allow employees to build good relationships in the workplace which can really boost morale.

A feeling of shared ownership. If those who work together feel like valued employees and part of a wider team, they are more likely to take responsibility and be passionate about the success of the business.

All of the above are really positive in a work environment and can help to boost the productivity of your team or employees.

A good leader will carefully construct their team so that there will be no major personality clashes and select individuals they feel will fit into the business. They also understand the importance of promoting a culture where teamwork is encouraged. This is what our CEO, Agnes Butterworth, had to say about maintaining team spirit amongst employees:

“For managers, it’s important to maintain a good spirit within your team. You can achieve so much more when surrounded by a motivated team as opposed to working on your own. Keep your team happy and engaged by organising team building activities and social events.

It’s important for me to make sure that my team are happy at work and are aiming for the common goal, as it makes my work managing them so much easier. So arranging a bike ride, trampolining session or just pizza and prosecco in the office should always be on a good manager’s agenda.”

It’s not just up to the management to create a solid team, teamwork truly depends on those in the group. That means that each individual and how they behave can have a massive impact on the success of everyone within a business. So, for those of you who work in a team or if you want to boost your abilities for situations when teamwork is necessary, here are some top tips to bear in mind on how to be a great team player:

Communication is key. To work well within a team, you need to be willing and able to listen to and communicate with your peers. Make sure that any messages, phone calls or emails are polite and professional, and that they contain all the relevant information. Ask questions if you need to, and ask your colleagues for their opinions – you may learn something new and they will feel like their views are valued. If you’re working on a task for or with somebody else, then ensure that they are kept up to date on your progress. On a personal level, show your colleagues that you take an interest in them; make sure that you ask them about themselves, what they’ve been up to at the weekend or about their plans for the night. It may seem like banal small talk, but it can really help your co-workers to feel like you care, thus helping you to build a good working relationship.

Steer clear of negativity. Negativity can manifest in many different forms; office gossiping, constant complaining, pessimism or bullying to name but a few. Whatever form it takes in your workplace, do what you can to stay well away from it. Being positive and respectful is the right way to help you become a valued and trusted part of the team; your colleagues will feel encouraged by your optimism and your enthusiasm can be contagious. If you notice that one of your colleagues is regularly being negative try to counteract this by encouraging them to see things in another way or help them to resolve any problems they are having.

Don’t forget to praise and encourage. We can be all to quick to let people know about something they haven’t done or that they’ve done incorrectly. Never underestimate the importance of acknowledging when your colleagues have done a good job or praising their ideas. This is a trait of a true team player; it shows that you value your co-workers and that you’re not just out for yourself.

Be respectful. There’s no point in shooting someone’s ideas down or constantly informing colleagues of what they’re doing wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate and wanting to do things right, but remember that you’re not the only person on the team who feels that way! If you disagree with a colleague’s opinion or ideas, then be diplomatic. If they do something wrong, offer them constructive feedback. In short, you should be respectful at all times to help promote an open and pleasant team environment where everyone’s views are welcomed.

Let your personality show. You spend a large proportion of your week at work, therefore, you will share a big part of daily life with your colleagues. A great team works best when everyone gels well together – no one is saying you all have to be best friends, but it’s a lot easier to work together when you have some sort of bond. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try to be open and show your personality to your colleagues. They’ll feel much more comfortable around you, so this will promote communication and trust. However, remember to maintain your professionalism; there’s nothing wrong with bringing a bit of humour into the workplace, but keep it appropriate!

There are so many ways to show that you are a team player, but we think that Agnes has summed it up nicely:

“To be a good team player, remember to: work hard, do your bit on time, show interest in your colleagues’ work and interests, cheer them up when they are down, ask for help when you need it, help others when they need your help and stay positive!

Being part of a great team makes you feel good at work, you look forward to seeing your colleagues and they can help motivate you and push forward.”

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