Whether you currently head a team or am a team member, it is always advantageous to understand more about your team. The benefits of recognising each other’s strengths and weaknesses will greatly increase efficiency and productivity in the long run. Below, we focus on three ways on how you might understand your team better.
1) Encourage Transparency
Transparency builds trust and stronger relationships between team members. Everyone is in the loop and no one feels left out. More collaboration and learning can take place in this kind of inclusive environment. Encourage fellow team members to speak candidly about what’s on their minds. However, do not condemn anyone who is afraid to speak up. Perhaps a different approach would work better for them. Suggest to the team leader to have a weekly or monthly Q & A session whereby members can submit questions and feedback anonymously. That way, shy or reserved team members can still have their say.
Being honest and upfront is especially important for the team leader. Team members need to be kept informed about bad news as well. If information is withheld, members may make up stories and assume the worst. Sharing bad news in a tactful manner is valuable in building trust among members. With trust, members tend to share more and understand each other better.
2) Promote communication and brainstorming
Two way communication is essential to better understand your team. The best form of communication is face to face. However, some introverted members may prefer communicating via email or whatsapp groups. Do be wary of communicating via written modes though, because there might be misunderstandings due to the wrong punctuation or words used. When in doubt, do clarify with your team member face to face. Brainstorming encourages members to think aloud and suggest as many ideas as possible. A simple tip is to hold the discussion at a different place than your usual board room. A change in environment normally jolts people and it’s a great catalyst for members to freely express their thoughts. Hold sessions whenever you feel that your team is stagnant and you are on the road to better relations.
3) Team Building Activities
Team building enhances social relations within teams and it is imperative to choose the correct activities to suit your team. Competitive activities are usually not suitable if you are trying to gather the team together. Firstly, since the main goal is to better understand your team, the team building activity should preferably be confined to a comfortable room. Secondly, the activity should be inclusive and nobody should feel left out. For example, sports is not for everybody. Lastly, everyone should be aware of each other and try to bond on a deeper level, which is impossible to achieve in the office. A perfect team building activity would be attending a cookery class together at CulinaryOn. The cosy and relaxed atmosphere would open up even the most reticent member. Nobody would have the chance to feel left out as our charming hosts and chefs would liven up the whole studio. Colleagues who cook together, appreciate each other better. With scrumptious food as part of the activity, everybody wins. Your team members would return back to the office with a renewed zest and better understanding of each other.