Set up a ping pong table and buy as many board games as you like — positive rapport doesn’t happen overnight. Employees naturally travel through phases of exploration, challenge, acceptance, and performance. Recognize that all teams move through stages of development, and some individuals require more time to assert their skills and integrate into preexisting units.
1. Encourage interdepartmental collaboration.
The opportunity to work together can significantly contribute to an employee’s ability to relate to others and feel a sense of loyalty to their team. Introduce colleagues thoughtfully. Generate new ideas and unexpected outcomes by pooling together individuals who don’t typically share projects. The best solutions arise from a variety of sources and inspiration.
2. Provide leadership opportunities for all.
All employees should be given a chance to shine, regardless of role and level within the company. Create environments in which everyone’s feedback is respected and make training available to all members of the group. By shaking up responsibilities and expected performance, you’ll give employees the opportunity to appreciate their colleagues’ talents.
3. Creatively encourage relationship building.
The best connections rarely form inside of the office. Bring employees together in unique environments; schedule company outings, host dinners in your home, arrange group trips, encourage brown bag lunches at the nearby park. Promote a culture that provides opportunities for individuals to create and bond outside of daily tasks, enabling deeper feelings of satisfaction and connectedness.
4. Shared experiences unite teams.
Challenges can serve as teaching moments and unite individuals within a given project. Ushering teams through trying times will reinforce competence and trust among each team member. Alternatively, working towards a shared goal and focusing on mutual success can help keep your team’s energy positive. Celebrate triumphs together.
5. Model constructive communication.
The best way to encourage positive communication is to demonstrate and conduct the types of interactions you’d like to see. Effective communication and empathic listening doesn’t come easily for everyone. Your verbal and non-verbal cues will be imitated by staff. Be aware that your clarity and expectations regarding communication, trust, respect, and honor are an integral component of determining the communication patterns of your team.
It’s up to you to create the time and space for employees to connect meaningfully. Equip your team with what it needs to succeed: support, clear objectives, effective means of communication, strong leadership. When the right roles and responsibilities mix with a carefully selected group of individuals, great team dynamics will follow.