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By Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, SBR Workplace Leadership Services
According to research completed by William Ouchi in the 1980s, it has continually been found that workplaces perform better when they are team oriented versus with individuals who work independently. Most have likely heard the old adage that says two heads are better than one. Well, this is true. More brainstorming, ideas, and critical thinking from multiple people allow for greater opportunities for diverse perspectives and overall effectiveness in the workplace. Here are pointers for working in teams:
Offer Brainstorming Sessions
When an organization is seeking new strategic ideas to make positive change, there are more opportunities when more perspectives are shared. For example, you may need new product prototype ideas, new marketing ideas, new funding ideas, new recruiting ideas, and more. Regardless of rather your team has three employees, 30 employees, or 300 employees, allow for opportunities for everyone to have a voice. For smaller teams, you may have a meeting and offer a whiteboard where everyone writes their thoughts or a team lead writes the thoughts of the whole group. For larger teams, you may use something like a shared document (e.g., Google Docs) where everyone can type ideas into one place where everyone can see the ideas. This allows for more introverted workers to share ideas when maybe they would not have done so in a group setting. Nonetheless, it is imperative that employees know that not all ideas can be implemented but maybe an option such as voting or a judging panel of peers can help narrow down and select the way forward based on the ideas shared.
Be Open to New Ideas and Initiatives
It is also important for teams to be open to all types of ideas. There may be suggestions or recommendations that have never been considered before especially with advances in technology. Be careful not to be so quick to shut down an idea because it is too new or moving beyond the status quo feels uncomfortable. Change will oftentimes require discomfort in the beginning, especially positive change. When the whole team is opened minded and flexible, change management is much easier to handle and the results of the change are more impactful.
Good Leadership Requires Followship
There is great focus on leadership is today’s society especially as it relates to leading teams small and large. Good leaders lead teams in such a way that they can take a step back, allow followers to exert leadership qualities, and guide the employees, collectively, to maximize their potential in the workplace. This may require the leader to serve as a follower in order for the team to grow, develop, and advance. This is a form of leadership that helps the leader learn from followers as well as meet workplace objectives where all ideas are valued and learning takes place as well.
Contact SBR Workplace Leadership Services for additional training topics related to improving teamwork in your organization or if you need a consultant to execute teambuilding activities for your workplace. The growth and strength of your organization may well need it as you advance towards success.