A Guide to Building Teamwork (& How It Can Help Your Clients), The MDC Group

A Guide to Building Teamwork (& How It Can Help Your Clients)

Building team relationships is regularly part of a company’s vision, but it can be difficult to achieve. Our clients have been able to make the dream a reality, and here’s how.

Helping employees feel engaged in the success of the company through team development can have a huge impact on company success. According to Gallup, improved levels of team engagement lowered absenteeism by 41%, lowered turnover by 24%, raised productivity by 17%, and raised profitability by 21% among companies polled. Teams are proven to be more efficient, and they help to self-monitor and encourage innovation.

These team-focused improvements help clients as well as companies. Teammates hold each other accountable, and with more eyes on any given project item, mistakes are caught earlier in the timeline or avoided altogether. Strong teams are also able to fill in gaps if one member falls behind or has to take time off, meaning a faster return for clients, and the interactive innovation provided by teams helps clients receiving the best ideas and solutions possible.

Here are five ways to help develop and support cohesive teams in any workplace:

    • Start with Clear Definitions – As builders, we at MDC know that every project needs a solid foundation. Developing a clear plan with well-defined expectations is key to growing teamwork at a company. Start by determining the roles and responsibilities of each person on a team and clearly defining the expectations of each role. While some people may prefer working on their own and are hesitant to work as part of a team, leadership can help generate positivity for new teams by having clear definitions at launch.Additionally, even when the overall goal is to increase team connections, be sure to give teams tangible and achievable goals. Teams need to have something to work toward together—not just a directive to “be a better team.”
    • Promote Healthy Communication – For teams to be successful, there needs to be robust communication, both within the team and with management and executives. Team members should have open dialogue about the project and the current work of each member. Regular team meetings, ongoing team chats (via Microsoft Teams or other software), and collaborative project management software all help teams stay in touch.In addition to work-centered communication, team members should know each other’s strengths and responsibilities so that tasks can be assigned appropriately and without overlap. Management should check in regularly to keep teams on track and, more importantly, to offer guidance and encouragement.
    • Accept Feedback – Receiving and sharing feedback can be tricky. Try as we might, it can be difficult not to take it personally when we receive negative feedback on a project. However for teams to be successful, there should be multiple opportunities to share feedback both laterally and vertically—without fear of repercussions.Teams should develop open communication where feedback can become an organic part of the development process. This is different than brainstorming, which lacks direction. Feedback sessions focus on existing, in-process projects to help move them toward completion. During a review, the team is encouraged to play “devil’s advocate” and look at their project from all angles, creating an opportunity to critique the team’s work without stepping on toes. This also moves any second-guessing to limited, scheduled times where all team members are present, avoiding lengthy and time-consuming back-and-forths. Reviews help bring a team into alignment and can help catch issues that may have otherwise been overlooked.For teams to work efficiently at a company, there also needs to be a culture where teammates can share ideas and problems up the chain. Managers are particularly crucial to team success. According to Gallup research, 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined by the manager. Managers should be actively engaged with team members and listening to teams’ concepts and concerns.
    • Lead from the Top – When it comes to developing a culture of teamwork at a company, everyone has a role to play—even executives. Although executive-level leaders may not be in the trenches with individual teams, it is leadership’s responsibility to set an example and maintain a productive structure. The first step is to embody the style of team interaction that you want to see from your company’s teams. Offer support where possible and get to know how your teams work; this creates open doors for better reflection in the future.There are two key ways executives can establish an effective framework for successful teams. The first goes back to foundations—define the organization’s mission, purpose and values, and then set priorities and follow through. Having clear definitions allows your team to build well-aligned goals, and executive follow-through helps teams feel supported and like everyone is working towards the same goals.The second action that falls upon executives is to ensure talent sharing. It’s easy for star talents to be consistently resourced to the same projects or managers. This leaves talented, dedicated workers without the opportunities to develop or network and can create the feeling that the only way up is out—and that’s a problem. As overseers, it is up to executives to ensure that the company is being served in both the short and long-term by the teams and team members.
    • Have Fun & Celebrate! – Finally, one of the best ways to strengthen team success is to let loose (a little). Teams form greater bonds when connections happen naturally instead of feeling forced. Fun outings, happy hours, and volunteer projects are all great ways to bring a team together.When it comes to celebrating, it is also critical to recognize achievements and success. For teams, managers should set benchmarks and celebrate teams when they reach them. Don’t wait until a project is 100% complete before offering recognition—create incentive by offering regular recognition for a job well done. In addition to team achievements, it’s important to celebrate individuals as well. This may seem counter-intuitive to team building, but encouraging team members to celebrate each other can strengthen bonds, and highlighting good work can set an example for the rest of a team.

    As you can see, creating strong teams takes much more than dividing people into groups and letting them go. However, with intentionality, planning, and ongoing support, any company can develop a strong team-oriented culture.


    Want to learn more about how our teams serve our clients and make MDC a success? Give us a call today!