Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make us better.
Building a championship team takes practice. From the greatest NBA season ever played by the ‘95-’96 Chicago Bulls (72-10 with a Championship) to the international dominance of the Spanish soccer team from 2007-2012, there’s one common thread…
As a leader, the best compliment is growth and improvement in your team.
There’s often a lot of emphasis on hiring well. While that’s an important factor, working with people means that finding the right fit is rarely plug-and-play. It takes work to integrate new people and recalibrate existing members to work optimally.
Imagine your team is a machine. When it’s new, it isn’t quite how you like it, so you adjust the settings to your preference. As it gets older, it starts to show signs of wear and it just doesn’t work as well as it used to, so you get it serviced. A team works much in the same way, through continuous repetition of this cycle.
What can keep your team producing at the level you expect?
The answer is simple: team building exercises. Activities that emphasize skills like communication, delegation, and organization around a common goal can help your team realize their potential.
Consider these reasons for making team building a central focus of your employee engagement strategy:
Open the Lines of Communication
There’s a reason why communication is at the top of practically every list you’ll find on the benefits of team building. It’s core to both the interpersonal and functional aspects of how a team interacts.
A Gallup study found that nearly 70% of workers in the U.S. were disengaged from their work, increasing to 87% worldwide. Gallup estimates that this costs U.S. companies $450-550 billion dollars a year.
Communicating an idea that you expect someone else to interpret and subsequently realize is no small feat. It takes a significant amount of understanding to anticipate both the way the person you’re directing that information to will receive it and how they perceive it against their career goals and the overall company goals.
To keep your team engaged, focus on their strengths. Team building activities are a great platform to emphasize and learn more about the individual strengths of your team members.
Create Clear Opportunities for Growth & Development
Keeping an employee engaged can be as simple as having clearly defined roles for each person. Whether it’s project-based or defining someone’s role within the larger context of the company, it’s essential to be clear what success looks like.
Set clear, actionable goals to hold your team accountable, using every opportunity to show how their performance effects company success – especially celebrating wins.
If you give an employee a clear path to advancement, they’re more likely to experience fulfillment. It’s important to align this advancement with the career goals of the individual whenever possible.
Becoming a manager isn’t for everyone; there are different ways to utilize talented employees that don’t necessarily show interest in leading a team. Offer growth opportunities based on the skills that they’ve shown the most aptitude towards.
Use team building activities to help develop your employees. They’re a fun way to challenge your employees to enhance their skill sets.
Produce Targeted Results with Goal Setting
Make sure goals are tangible and attainable. It’s easy to create lofty goals that seem insurmountable, most of us do it every new year.
Setting up S.M.A.R.T. goals is a great way to plan and visualize success. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. It’s easier to align these types of goals with company objectives and get immediate feedback on the impact an employee has on your company. This directly ties employee motivators to the company’s overall success.
The issue here is that sometimes it’s hard for some people to think in such finite terms. Team building activities can help employees articulate how they plan to get from “point A” to “point B”, eventually leaving them with the ability to set goals both personally and professionally.
Barron Rosborough is a seasoned digital marketer and writer from Los Angeles, CA. He writes on topics ranging from wellness to leadership (and everything in between). He is currently the Digital Marketing Coordinator at SnackNation, a curated healthy snack subscription service for offices and homes.