At BGT Partners in Aventura, co-founder David Clarke has built team activities into the firms culture. The company holds continuous team building events that have included group karaoke, bowling and art projects. Recently, a celebrity drummer gave the entire office a group lesson. He taught us how to be in rhythm together. By the end of the hour, we had more than a hundred people drumming to same beat.
Clarke says he sees a noticeable return on investment. At BGT, employees work in teams on clients digital challenges. Clarke says younger staffers, in particular, want collaboration, and to be a part of a team.
The foundation of every team is the relationships of the individuals. People dont work well together if they hate each other, Clarke says. If they like each other and are happy together, they will work together well.
With 150 employees, Clarke admits he has encountered a toxic team member along the path to growth. But hes come up with a way to learn of it sooner, rather than later an anonymous online suggestion box where employees can submit problems, opinions, ideas and feedback. It exposes things I otherwise wouldnt have known about, before they fester and get toxic.
Some employers bringing in conflict-resolution specialists or coaches to improve team dynamics. Hartley, an executive coach with Premier Leadership Coaching, says she urges team leaders to have direct conversations about expectations and how the team should perform. It may be simplistic but it really helps.
Still, there are times when a team manager or leader does need to address problems related to a single individual. Rather than dismiss someone as selfish or a failure and have it affect your work and home life, Hartley suggests confronting the problem without making it a personal attack. Name the problem in a factual way and how it impacts you. Explain the pattern you observed and make a request for a correction. [Otherwise, you can] forget team building exercises.
Some conflict among team members is good, say experts. It promotes debate and creative thinking. In a healthy team environment, the leader knows the difference. People with their own agendas need to be addressed and thats where the leader comes into place, says Jarrin at Emerson. Rather than focus on changing behavior of an individual, a team leader may have to change the way he manages the team, she says.
The challenge for team leaders, much like the Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra, is understanding that a talented player isnt always a good team member At Steven Douglas Associates, a talent search and recruitment firm in Sunrise, even the standouts have come to see the benefit of playing well together. Executive recruiter Alan Berger says sharing leads and contacts with his team members recently helped him make a significant placement with a client. Were all driven but we have seen the benefit in supporting each other.
BGTs Clarke says leaders who want to create an environment where workers are happy, and their personal lives respected, need to hire well. Its not about the best, but more about who is best to work together.
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Connect with her at email@example.com or visit worklifebalancingact.com.