Team building is a critical skill for creating the right culture and allowing you to foster a healthy. work environment for you and your team.
Creating the right team and a healthy work environment is about so much more than productivity!
Obviously, most of us want to get more done—or encourage our team to do more—and building a healthy work environment is crucial for increasing daily work output. But the benefits don’t just stop there. A positive, healthy environment provides your team members a place to grow, somewhere they can feel happy, comfortable, and valued.
At the end of the day, contentment at work will go a long way toward keeping the members of your team happy and fulfilled. Instead of dreading the moment they have to arrive at the office, they’ll look forward to coming in. After all, you’ve created an environment where they feel challenged, engaged, stimulated, and valued.
That is the kind of company culture that you, the leader of your team, should be creating!
But how do you do that? How do you foster that kind of positive environment? It may seem easier said than done, but it all starts with a few simple steps:
Step 1: Find the Right Team
Your team should be comprised of people who are intelligent, capable, and willing to learn and grow. And that absolutely begins with you! Your job isn’t to be the smartest in the room or take control of everything—it’s to lead your team and keep things in track while letting them do what they need to do to get the job done.
If you’re putting together a new team, look for people who have the drive to succeed and grow, people who are capable of accomplishing a lot with the right motivation. You will be the one who helps them find that motivation, but they need to already have the skills and personalities to succeed.
If you’ve already got your team established, it’s time to make them into the “right” team. You do that by finding their strengths and utilizing them to compensate for the weaknesses of others on your team. Make the most of every person on your team and they will begin to feel like they matter!
Step 2: Give Your Team Flexibility
A good work-life balance is absolutely vital for a healthy work environment!
The truth is that most leaders need to encourage more focus on the “life” half of the work-life balance, as many people focus solely on how much work is getting done without prioritizing time with family.
Whenever possible, let your team choose their hours so they can handle their workload the way they need to. Make it an option for them to shift their schedules around so they’ve got the option to do what needs doing both at home and at the office. Giving them this sort of freedom and flexibility will help them feel like they have control over their lives, and it will show that you genuinely care about their lives enough to trust them with this freedom.
Step 3: Invest in Your Team
A good leader does everything he can to make sure the group is learning, growing, motivated, and stimulated. That may mean investing a bit of time into mentoring one of the team, or it could mean setting them up with an outside mentor that can help them. It might involve online courses or learning programs that will help them to develop their professional and personal skills. It could include small financial investments in things like birthday parties, social events, or celebrations for goals accomplished.
Whatever the case, find a way to always be investing in your team. Time and money are two vital resources you can invest, but even emotional currency—genuine concern and interest in your team—will always bring big dividends down the line. These investments show that you care about your team members not only for what they do for you, but for who they are.
Step 4: Work to Understand Your Team’s Challenges
Every team member is going to have challenges at work and at home.
Perhaps one has a newborn baby that is making it hard for them to get enough sleep, while another has high school-aged kids that are going through a difficult time. Some of your team members may be struggling with heavy workloads and tight deadlines, while others may not feel sufficiently challenged.
Whatever the problem, it’s vital that you understand it. Take time with each member of your team, and get to know their current hardships and struggles. Once you know what’s going on, see what you can do to fix the problem and understand how to motivate them.
You may not be able to solve every issue or fight every battle, but you can show your team members that you, their leader, are on their side. Show them that you understand and care enough to try to help. Even if there’s nothing you can do to make the problem go away or lighten their load, just knowing that you’ve got their back will go a long way toward creating that healthy and positive work environment!
Step 5: Be the Good Example Your Team Needs
Remember that you, the leader, set the tone. If they see you stressed and frazzled, it’s going to reflect in their anxiety levels. If they see you calm, level-headed, and approaching the current task with poise, it will help them feel more relaxed.
You set the tone for the work environment. You’re the one who drives the culture—a culture of overworking, complete with late-night and weekend cram sessions, or a culture of professional competence paired with flexibility.
You need to be the example in order to create high performers. Be the one who works hardest, but who also has a good work-life balance. Show them how expanding your skillset makes you better, and thereby teaching through example.
Your team is looking to you—maybe even unconsciously imitating your behavior. It’s up to you to be the example of a healthy, balanced professional. Your example will go a long way toward fostering a healthy environment for them!