I recently posted a blog, 2013 Business Trends, expressing my viewpoint on business culture trends for 2013. I touched on the three trends briefly, but intend to fully expand on each over the next few blog posts.

The first trend I talked about is two-fold:

#1 – Progressive companies will begin developing a cooperative team culture environment versus independent stellar performance by a handful of employees. This instills the mindset “the whole is greater than its parts.”

#2 – In order to develop this cohesion, these organizations must initiate leadership skills development training for leaders to manage these new dynamic teams. Today’s teams are more diverse than ever. They have varied ethnic backgrounds, work experiences, and age differences to name a few. Effective business leaders and managers must be able to manage the “emotional intelligence” of their employees. In short… emotional intelligence means leaders must be intelligent about emotions.

Teamwork is Nothing New….

The idea of teamwork is nothing new, yet is one of the most discussed concepts in management today. What is new with the teamwork concept is the idea of encouraging managers to become coaches – not just bosses. Most team leaders and bosses are ill equipped to coach and manage emotions, individual work ethics of employees, and cultural differences so a team gels into a well-oiled, cohesive unit. Managers are given plenty of training to keep up with “hard” skills such as technology advances and new processes, but receive little support on managing “people.”

A recent Harvard Business Review article featuring Jack Zenger, CEO of leadership development consultancy with Zenger/Folkman, states that most individuals become a manager at age 30, but the average student in a leadership course is 42. That is more than a decade of management without leadership training, which can ingrain bad habits.    Managers who hone their leadership and emotional intelligence skills stand to see more productivity, less absenteeism, less hostility, and more engaged employees in the workplace for 2013. I touch more on this and other topics in my new book endorsed by Mr. Zenger, “Engagement, and Retention & Growth 10 Strategic Solutions for Sustainable Corporate Expansion & Employee Retention.”

The Dream Team Environment

So how do organizations go about creating a cooperative team environment in the 2013 workplace? Let’s first describe the ideal team.

  • Everyone knows their role and the expertise they bring to the table
  • Team members collaborate and share information to implement strategies
  • Suggestions and differences of opinion are handled in a constructive and productive manner
  • Each member is willing to consider alternate possibilities to decide on the best solution
  • The team trusts one another and members feels “safe” within their group

Tips to Bringing a Dream Team to Reality in the Workplace

The Dream Team sounds nice, right? But it’s not that easy to implement. By following these tips on creating cooperative teams, companies will soon see the results of their efforts.

  • Communicateaka…tell it like it is!  Surveys have shown that employees want their leaders to call a spade a spade and be honest about expectations, shortcomings, and goals of the team. Talking openly with team members and requesting feedback creates respect. Members of the team are also encouraged to communicate openly so they develop a stake in the success of the group.
  • Instill Passion – everyone on the team cares and shares a common goal and vision. When roles are defined, measurable goals put into place, and team members are given accountability and empowerment, passion as well as loyalty endures. Team members understand they are working on something bigger than their individual aspirations.
  • Willingness to take risk – With a cooperative team atmosphere, the attitude shifts from fear of individual failure, isolation, and repercussion to “there is nothing we can’t overcome if we work together.” During stressful situations such as reorganization, many companies have emerged stronger due to a cooperative team effort.
  • Listen to every team member – this goes hand-in-hand with communication. Just as important as being heard is the ability to actively listen to teammates. Fresh perspectives, breakthroughs, and strategies are only discovered while listening to others.
  • Set aside time for team building activities Organizations that provide an afternoon or day retreat strengthen team unity, understanding, and loyalty between members When tied to specific group development improvements outcomes are measurable.
  • Put in place effective strategies for dealing with conflict resolution – Newly formed teams often experience a period of storming and conflict. Some feel their ideas are not being heard or appreciated, dominant personalities can diminish the cohesiveness of the group, and misunderstanding can turn to incivility.

Organizations and businesses that focus on team cooperation and provide their management with “emotional intelligence” skills are positioning themselves as the progressive companies of 2013. Cooperative teams and highly trained leaders with people skills will be the new norm for successful businesses.With new opportunities for growth on the horizon coupled with the elimination antiquated business models, forward-thinking organizations will thrive in 2013.

Copyright TIGERS Success Series by Dianne Crampton

About TIGERS Success Series

TIGERS Success Series is a team development consultancy based on 6 core principles that anchor high performance team dynamics. These principles are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success. TIGERS offers licensing and certification to team building trainers and consultants interested in expanding their practice to serve organizational leaders from the break room to the boardroom. .Learn more.