From the snow to the ice via fighting off some fierce competition, Team USA’s medal haul at Sochi winter Olympics showed that our athletes have ‘team spirit’ in spades. Building a winning team isn’t all about huddles and high fives though – there’s plenty more managers can do to create that gold-medal mentality at work.
1. Define your direction.
Like the employees of a fledgling Fujifilm united by the aim to ‘kill Kodak’, find an emotionally engaging common cause. A strong sense of purpose will unite the team so that their engagement and performance soar.
2. Thrash it out.
Healthy conflict can unlock creativity, increase understanding and help teams reach better solutions. Guide yours through a constructive discussion. Let dictators vent, then make them listen; help compromisers make definitive decisions.
3. Find their strengths.
Is your designer a secret Excel whiz? Can your PA write winning copy? Encourage team members to share their skills. A new challenge will boost engagement, and you’ll have a team that plugs its own skills gaps.
4. Create competition.
There’s nothing like a little rivalry to keep the troops on their toes. Publicly praise and reward star performers to make the rest want to join them. But when it comes to setbacks, the opposite holds true – whether it’s a missed target, an angry client or a failed negotiation, treat individuals’ mistakes as team issues and deal with the fallout together.
5. Say thank you.
Take a moment to celebrate victories before you set your team their next challenge. Host a team lunch, give them an early finish, send a praising email. You can only push a team thanklessly for so long before they push off.