How do we build cooperative teams?

By Shalini Gadhia

Success in leadership comes when there is cooperation in a team. Having team members who work together is one of the biggest achievements of a leader. Looking at the constant changes taking place in the environment particularly in the context of finance, it becomes important to nurture your team so that they are all driven towards the same goals and objectives.  With frequent layoffs, it is essential to lead your team that works together to reap maximum benefits.

A key way of getting your team aligned is keeping them constantly motivated. Despite the various challenges faced, a motivated team will always be solution focused. A team that feels like their contribution is valued will always strive to work together leading to maximum cooperation. Motivation can be in the form of monetary rewards, recognition, training and development.

Making your workplace a fun place to be also encourages cooperation within a team. After all, nobody likes spending time in a gloomy office! Fun cantake the form of occasional team get togethers, music to lighten the mood or even simple things like sharing a few jokes here and there. A leader taking the lead here goes a long way in nurturing this culture. Allowing team members to take regular breaks in between work schedules will also keep them more energized and make it fun for them to continue working together.

Team building exercises play a crucial part in instilling cooperation as team members learn each other and bond better. This helps in identifying each other’sweaknesses which goes a long way in ensuring that the correct help is offered when required. Team building exercises allow us to get out of the normal work routines and let us interact in a different setting that permits us to get to know each other at a different level.

Regular training of the team also motivates staff as they feel like their knowledge is being updated and gives a feeling that the company cares. Training can also be made fun where new concepts are taught in a practical way rather than in the ordinary classroom context. In addition, it can be a two way exercise where team members should also get a chance to make suggestions on potential areas of improvement. After all, they are the ones involved in the day to day task execution. This motivates them towork together as they feel more empowered.

Listening to your team solves half of the problems that most leaders face. Team members are humans after all. Listening to their problems, idea and opinions usually makes them feel valued hence they will strive to help other team members in exchange, therefore nurturing cooperation within the team. It does not stop at listening, implementing the ideas that team members leads to more cooperation as seeing an idea actualized goes a long in employee motivation.

Nurturing respect is a key element in attaining cooperation within a team. A team that does not have members that respect each other will never allow them to work together. As a leader, if you respect your members, and teach them to do the same with each other, you will be assured of having a team that is likely to work together.Respect applies to how you address each other on a daily basis, how conflict resolution is handled and how the leader-team relationship is developed with time.

Instilling the value of having ‘one vision’ is another way that a leader can get maximum cooperation from his team. Avoid instilling a competitiveculture and focus on a unified approach. This way team members will constantly be reminded that they are working towards a common goal which will allow them to cooperate and work together. The ‘one vision’ approachhowever must also communicate what’s in it for an employee on a personal level. Communicate potential rewards both on a personal and team level.

Potential for employee growth in an organization will also allow them to work together more as they understand that they have a chance of rising within the workplace if they perform better as a team. Rewards can also be tied directly to team work which will further nurture cooperation!

Maintaining a positive attitude at all times also allow teams to work better together. A positive attitude will allow everyone to come together in difficult times and figure out a solution no matter what the situation. This is highly dependent on the team leader as a team’s attitude is highly dependent on that of their leader. Motivation is key in nurturing positivism in a team.

The author is a marketing professional with 10 years of work experience across various industries.