Companies need corporate cultures where people are motivated to succeed individually, where they have a competitive spirit and personal initiative. But they also need company cultures where people get along and enjoy working together. How do you cross that bridge?
Sometimes it may seem like a balancing act, but you can provide a scenario where people compete in a healthy and friendly way, keeping their own personal objectives in mind, but also moving forward as a team. Here are some of the elements of management that are aimed at conquering the divide between the team and the person.
Form Team Goals: Nix the “Me” Mentality
Yes, this sounds kind of vague. Managers who just pull random pages from a team building playbook may not succeed in trying to combine a personal and a team approach. The bottom line is that the company needs to foster closeness among its employees, providing ways for people get to know each other and work collaboratively, not just take shots from their own cubicles.
Certain kinds of downtime events can be constructed in team building, but so can meetings where people focus as a team on the work at hand. You may have competitive sales quotas, but you can also set up team objectives with their own incentives, to keep people cooperating and give them that face time, so that they feel like they’re all in the same boat.
A Fun Environment
People just feel better when they feel empowered to have fun at work. Keep the micromanaging and the rulebook as far away as possible, and foster those vital things that are the lifeblood of a company culture — freedom, creativity, and the ability of each person to provide input and feedback for the future of the business. When you do this, you’re part way to making sure people’s individual goals don’t block out how they function as a group.
It’s also extremely important that the people in charge don’t play favorites with team members. This is one of the best ways to start to cause conflict and a “me first” mentality.
But besides avoiding the serious problems, not playing favorites also saves bosses time. A certain level of detachment from the daily proceedings can actually be healthy. This doesn’t mean not listening to people’s concerns, or not having open door hours. It means not getting involved in petty bickering and interpersonal details between team members. It means being impartial and not playing favorites, and not cozying up to certain people, rather than doing the work that top leaders need to be doing, looking at the birds-eye view and charting the course for the business.
Do a Mood Check
It also helps when managers and top supervisors keep an eye on how everyone is feeling. That means having face time with individual team members, again, fairly and in equal shares, but checking in to make sure that morale is good across the board. One person may have a personal issue that can be fixed, that will really enhance the team environment. Annual or periodic reviews can be a time to do this, but that doesn’t mean that the manager can’t huddle with each team member anytime it becomes important to do so.
For more on the craft of management and all other kinds of issues involving hiring and staffing, keep an eye on the Full Steam Staffing blog as we continue to highlight some of the biggest issues in business today.