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Office Culture: Working Well as a Team


As modern professionals know, office culture requires a certain amount of teamwork.

Many modern offices are being designed today with the open floorplan in mind, and even in independent professions, you may find yourself collaborating on teams both departmentally and cross-departmentally.

Additionally, workplaces have an increasing focus on the digital sphere, employing more and more remote employees and therefore putting an emphasis on team collaboration and excellent communication among remote and on-site staff members.

So how can you ensure that your team is functioning as a well-oiled machine? There are many approaches you can take to encourage teamwork within the workplace.

Create standards of healthy team behavior

Oftentimes, workplace teams are unhealthy and dysfunctional. As TrainingZone notes, goals are often unclear, team members are ignored, thinly-veiled bullying is tolerated, and poor behavior, like not arriving on time for meetings, is allowed. Conversely, a healthy work team has members that peacefully resolve conflict and accept accountability.

To avoid team dysfunction to flourish, workplaces can promote Patrick Lencioni’s ‘5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.’ The five stages are:

  • Trust

It should come as no surprise that trust is an important layer of the foundation of all relationships, including work relationships. Stage One allows team members to complete a vision exercise and take part in a team building challenge.

  • Conflict

Conflict is another key area that trips colleagues up. Many are fearful of conflict and will roll over to avoid it, even if that means agreeing to someone else’s idea even when it doesn’t feel right. In Stage Two, team members can develop emotional intelligence, allowing them to achieve decisions based on consensus rather than allowing the authority to make the final call.

  • Commitment

With consensus comes the feeling that all team members have been heard, which means their buy-in is increased. It is easy to feel committed to a decision when it feels as though you have had a part in making it. In this stage, team members can feel as though they are all working towards a shared goal.

  • Accountability

With commitment comes accountability. When team members have all played a role in the decision that has been reached, each team member feels accountable for the work that is done both independently and as a group.

  • Results

...and with these four stages reached, Stage Five involves reaping the results. Teams work more fluidly when trust is part of the equation. As a result, conflict is handled sensitively, and commitment and accountability are organic.

Set clear goals

Teams and committees often look to the leadership to set goals for the group. For this reason, it is recommended that all workplace teams have at least one executive “sponsor” to help facilitate the goal-setting process. However, as mentioned above, achieving consensus as a group is imperative to setting the commitment and accountability of its members. While the buy-in of an executive might help in the group’s infancy, it should be a collaborative environment where all team members have a voice in the planning, execution, and results of the team’s work.

Celebrate—and make time for play

When the team’s work results in a success, big or small, reward the team by celebrating. A celebration can be praise and recognition, all the way to planning team outings.

But don’t be stingy: team outings can be planned with or without cause to celebrate.

A key to the success of workplace teams is that the team members feel invested in each other. To maximize this investment, encourage team activities like group lunches, happy hours, and other employee functions. Allow these outings to be a work-free zone, where team members can get to know each other on a more personal level to enhance their investment in each other.

Team outings don’t have to break the bank, either—buffets like Golden Corral offer affordable options where even the pickiest eaters can fill up.


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