One difference between teams that flourish under the strain of today's workplace and teams that don't is their sense of community—a feeling of shared purpose, common values, and mutual trust. Here are some ways to build that sense on your team, from consultant and educator Dean Berry:
- Give team members realistic goals, values and responsibilities as a foundation for community action.
- Allow team members to participate in creating and maintaining their work environment—then demand responsible behavior in return.
- Focus on actions needed to obtain results that are important to the group, while downplaying individual job titles and functions.
- Eliminate outward signs of status in favor of teamwide collaboration and mutual support.
- Minimize bureaucratic overhead and complex procedures so individuals can more readily exercise their best judgment on behalf of the entire community.
- Gather and process information in ways that support decision making by everyone on the team.
- Set up rewards to support the entire team's priorities, goals, values and results.
- Offer as much training as possible—both formal and informal—to improve skills and self-esteem for all members of the community.
- Develop team values and vision by asking for input from everyone, and adjust goals and activities to better express those views.