7 strategic ways to foster stronger cooperation between your employees.

Whether you’re working with a team of five or fifty, rallying your employees behind a common goal can be an uphill battle. Personality clashes and differences of opinion can quickly work against any sense of camaraderie you’ve worked so hard to instill in your team, leaving everyone feeling antagonized and unproductive. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to help your team get back on track.

  1. Set clearly defined goals.
    No matter how big or small your project is, it’s imperative that you outline your objective and put to words exactly how you plan to achieve it. Defining these details as far in advance as possible and making sure your team fully understands them will promote team cohesion and productivity.
  1. Assign team roles.
    Each member of your team should choose an unambiguous function. Selecting roles that are best suited to your employees’ strengths and interests is a great way to position your team for maximum engagement and success, but in some cases you might want to try pulling your employees out of their comfort zones a little bit. Switching up roles is a healthy way of building a team because it encourages your employees to exercise different parts of their brains and acquire new skills.
  1. Set ground rules.
    Instead of dictating a list of rules to your team, try having the team establish their own. This will cultivate a stronger sense of accountability and harmony, as each individual will feel personally responsible for following the rules they helped create.
  1. Keep open lines of communication.
    Whether you’re a team lead or a team member, you must ensure that you can be reached by the people who need you. Check your emails and intranet messages regularly, and answer your phone. These might seem like no-brainers, but it’s easy to get caught up in your own job and forget that other people need you in order to do theirs.
  1. Don’t make it all about work.
    All this communication is great, but it can get stifling if it’s all serious all the time. Chatting about more informal subjects before and/or after meetings, in the hallway, or at lunch lightens the mood and encourages co-workers to bond on a more personal level.
  1. Focus on motivation.
    Motivated employees tend to be more productive and creative, and the great news is you don’t always need to provide financial incentives as encouragement. A catered lunch or team outing are great ways of bringing everyone together and saying thank you to your staff.
  1. Don’t tolerate disrespect.
    While most teams work together without incident, there are times when unsettling or even unlawful behavior occurs. If anyone on your team disrespects a fellow co-worker in any way, the aggressor must be disciplined according to your HR policy. Demonstrating that you have no tolerance for these actions proves you are committed to upholding and enforcing your company policies, and makes a safer, more comfortable working environment for everyone.

These tips are a solid starting point to encouraging your team to collaborate more effectively. If you’d like more advice on this topic, be sure to check out our other leadership and management resources.