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  • Writer's pictureDr. Quendrida Whitmore

5 Ways to Enhance Teamwork & Achieve Results



Many leaders strive for operational excellence but forget to focus on teamwork, intentional structure, and communication. Teamwork is vital to achieving results. Teams are more effective when they collaborate—leveraging each others’ strengths, identifying gaps, and asking for help. Groups become less cohesive, effective, and happy when leaders drive the what and neglect the how. Here are five ways to enhance teamwork and achieve results.


1. Know Yourself & the Team

One of the most essential parts of working with a team is knowing yourself, your strengths, and your opportunities. Self-awareness is vital to contributing to and being a productive part of a team. Identifying everyone’s values helps you appreciate what is essential to each person and where conflict or avoidance may arise. Understanding the team's values, strengths, and gaps helps create dialog vs. debate. Identifying these vital parts of individuals and groups will also help leaders assess the team's needs and hire to fill the competency cracks.


2. Intentional Teambuilding

Many people hate team building because it's mindless, forced fun. That is because often, the activities lack intention. Wordbook defines a team as "a cooperative unit." The key to becoming cooperative is knowing the team, how they work, and how to best work together. If your team-building activity does not fill one of these needs, it may be mindless, forced fun. Early in my career, I led a new team that was not leveraging each other's strengths. I had to get us to see the importance of teamwork. I called a meeting and told the team, don't eat; I would have breakfast there for them. When they showed up, I handed them bags of groceries and two griddles and said, let's start cooking. They grumbled and did what I thought. They each grabbed something out of the bag without collaborating. Well, we ended up having one of the worse breakfast meals ever. The eggs were cold, the bacon was overcooked, and the team was mad. So, I asked them to stop and reflect because this is how we work as a team. After getting their attention, we started having an honest conversation about what each person was good at and what was holding us back from leveraging each other. Consistent focus on building trust and teamwork created one of the best teams ever.


3. Role Clarity & Structure

When people do not know their role or the priorities, they decide to work on what they think is essential. The issue with this is it may be outside the goals that would make the team and business thrive. Many believe their team members know their job, but I challenge you to ask. You may be disappointed in what they say and surprised to find there are essential parts of the roles that need to be aligned. Not having clarity creates conflict, confusion, inefficient work, frustration, turnover, lack of performance, poor results; I could go on and on. Defining each person's core role and what success looks like is vital to moving the team together. I like the metaphor of a well-tuned orchestra. If you hear one flute or horn off, it matters! Ensuring everyone knows what they are trying to accomplish and having clear goals is key to operational excellence and team cohesion.


4. Clear Communication & Intentional Follow Through

How often have you heard, or worse said, "well, I told them" or "I sent an email"? While that may be true, it still didn't help the team have clarity, understanding, and alignment. A leader's knowledge of which communication vehicles to leverage for clarity helps create clear goals and a path to success. Saying something once does not indicate that it is a priority; yes, even if you say, "this is important”. The problem is you also said 100 other things throughout the week, and what is essential gets repeated. Here's an example, if my goal is to accomplish customer service scores of XYZ, and I only hear this message once, I may miss that it is an important goal. If I get exposed to the same message in a meeting, an email, individual and team meeting agendas, my review, and the monthly business review. It is clear, repetitive communication, and I know it's crucial, and I'm more likely to drive the result.


5. Be Consistent, Honest, and Call It

Sometimes things just suck, or you messed up. Call it. Trying to make it sound or look better makes people first ask, am I crazy? Then they start asking, does she think we are crazy? This slight shift in perspective seems small, but it is deadly to building trust. From my coaching training with CTI, we believe people are resourceful, creative, and whole. It means they can take it, don't sugarcoat, or mislead. Not being direct hurts the team and your relationship with the team. As a leader, you also should not subscribe to the old parenting rule, do as I say, not as I do. You must be dependable and honest to earn trust. To build a great team, the leader must focus on their actions matching their speech to ensure consistency and authenticity. Leaders should also be honest about themselves, the team's strengths and opportunities, the state of the business, and what needs to be accomplished.


In one of the most challenging assignments I had in my career, I took on a new team that had poor results. During our introduction meeting, they asked me, what do you think of us? Some may say, tell them what they want to hear; things are great. If that were the truth, results would have been fantastic, there would not have been focus calls, and team morale would have been better. So, I answered honestly. I said, "I see smart folks that are not working together as a team and not working on the right priorities. So that's what I'm here to help with, hopefully". Honesty did a few things. It told them I'm here as a friend, not a foe, I believed they can do it, and that I see the gaps in the performance of both leadership and the team. From there, we assessed routines, set goals, aligned priorities, turned around results, and celebrated together.


Hopefully these tips help you to enhance teamwork and achieve results. Remember, building trust in a team takes time, energy, and effort but creates a safe space for excellence to blossom. Being intentional allows you to leverage everyone on the team to drive fantastic performance and outstanding results.


Coach Quen

www.CoachQuen.com

@dr_coach_quen

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1 Comment


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Nov 26, 2022

Coach Que, this blog post is Excellent! It is a reflection of how “Collaboration Creates Currency” when leaders focus on keep the essence of teamwork at the core and culture of their organization.

Keep dropping these gems 💎.


All the best!


Rob ”YB”Youngblood

Chief Connecting Officer

YBConnects, LLC

Author - “Collaboration Creates Currency: The Blueprint for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability“

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