Creating and sustaining a cooperative and collaborative environment should be the top priority for managers. You can build effective teams with employees that identify with their company’s goals and vision, especially when they know that they will feel satisfied and receive a reward after completing a project.

Those managers who have to handle their in-house employees and their virtual team members at the same time can face a particular challenge. Without proper collaboration and communication, remote workers feel less a part of the company than their counterparts. As a result, teams can lose their effectiveness.

The task of managing a team has become more challenging in some ways, but you can take action right now to build team spirit and thereby enhance your employees’ collaboration.

Top-level Support

Executives have a responsibility to set the standard for acceptable behavior in their organization by putting their values and philosophy into practice. For example, corporate leaders need to collaborate if they expect collaboration from their employees. Also, managers should act more like coaches than bosses and create a culture that rewards and reinforces desirable behavior.

When everyone in your organization from the top down practices the same positive values, habits and behaviors that they want from their employees, the employees will respond positively. Although setting an example requires more of an effort than simply issuing commands, the practice builds a healthy workplace culture and contributes to a vibrant team spirit. It also directly affects the degree of success achieved by employees and their teams.

Aiding Quick and Practical Communication

Communication plays a major role for managers and executives in the modern workplace. When everyone in your organization feels safe and comfortable enough so that they collaborate, provide feedback and report issues, you will have an atmosphere that makes teams effective and productive.

You cannot always have in-person conversations with your workers and team members. You need to, therefore, establish communication channels that everyone can use. Many online applications and tools exist that can simplify data sharing and collaboration among workers at various locations. Practically every organization can use video conferencing and messaging tools, as well as file sharing utilities to improve communication.

Many companies have found that Yammer, a social network for organizations, improves communication and builds relationships. In many ways, the application works like a private Facebook site where employees can socialize while posting and sharing information. Managers can create dedicated space for their teams on Yammer, and executives can use the site to make announcements and recognize employees and teams for good performance.

In addition, web-based and mobile applications such as Skype for Business introduce real-time communication and collaboration that has made email correspondence obsolete. The new Skype has new features, but virtually no new bugs. Even the old ones which have held back many users from using it now have known fixes. Users can communicate via voice and video while sharing ideas on interactive whiteboards. Similarly, polls and group messaging give participants a chance to provide instant feedback that project managers can use to optimize the team effort on-the-fly.

Investing in Relationships and Happiness

Establishing and maintaining social relationships can challenge executives and managers, but the results they get make the effort worthwhile. When you realize that the quality of the relationships in your company affects team performance and spirit, you will do everything possible to inspire a sense of community in your workplace, even among your virtual workers.

You can design your company headquarters to promote communication and innovation while giving your employees a sense of corporate identity. Such practice can encourage employees to stay engaged with their company and co-workers during the entire day. It can also encourage employees to spend time together after hours.

Taking an indirect approach to team building creates an environment where team spirit naturally grows. You can, however, take some direct action to prevent the development of cliques. For example, you can mix teams together to weaken interdepartmental boundaries. You can also organize activities that combine people at high organizational levels with people at the entry level to dissolve hierarchical boundaries. Try activities such as camping, cycling, and other recreational activities to engage everyone as you build a happy, spirited team.

Final Word

You can overcome the challenges of the modern workplace by developing a healthy company culture where everyone from the top down shares the values and vision of your firm. The passionate team spirit you build by promoting happy relationships and encouraging communication enhances collaboration and lays a solid foundation for long-term success.

Patricia DimickAuthorPatricia Dimick is a Denver-based stay-at-home-mom and a striving blogger, trying to make it as a freelance writer. She’s keen on keeping up with the latest trends in the business world and sharing her insights with like-minded people. You can reach her @Patricia_Dimick.

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