In a military environment, teamwork translates to safety and lives are at stake. Achieving teamwork in the workplace means creating a company culture with happy employees who take pride in what they do, and then make your team among the best in your industry.
In the military, lives are at stake, and this article highlights the importance of teamwork during a combined arms operation.
You and your team have legitimate reasons too. Whether your goal is to increase productivity or reduce turnover rates, your quickest path to teamwork in the workplace is improving employee engagement so that you have happy, productive employees.
When employees feel that you are looking out for their individual and collective needs, they’ll have your back.
We’re going to walk through a business scenario, a tale of two cultures, and a suggestion to encourage teamwork in the workplace.
A small transportation management firm was made up of a dozen full-time employees, where most served as project managers and a few were administrative staff.
Each project manager was assigned as project lead for several projects throughout the year, and to complete each project, they would recruit part-time staff and volunteer help to ramp up for the event.
In between events, project leaders would contribute to the firm’s overall effort in a supporting role by helping their peers.
A Tale of Two Cultures
At first glance, everything seemed to be going well. When it was event time, everyone pitched in and the company became known as an industry leader.
Behind the scenes, however, something was missing and I found that project managers were continual jockeying for position.
Revenue varied from one event to the next, and the employee bonus was based solely on your project, and when you served as project manager.
The bonus structure was a distracter. It led to animosity and some unhealthy competition. More important, it did not promote teamwork and cooperation.
Deep down, the employees were unhappy.
In Army Aviation, we had a similar setup. Flight Lead was a huge task, so we rotated our team leader position and shuffled pilots in order to be able to surge and accomplish a number of missions within a short period.
Just like the transportation management firm’s project leaders, our flight leaders wanted to perform their best. The difference lay with the incentives:
- Transportation project managers were rewarded from the revenue they generated, from their project.
- Flight leaders were rewarded by making the unit look good
Encouraging Teamwork in the Workplace
During my discussion with the transportation management firm’s CEO, I shared these observations.
The bonus program negatively affected employee morale because it was causing project managers to compete with one another.
Instead of awarding bonuses solely upon the performance of the project they led, I suggested that he change it to promote teamwork within his workplace.
In the future, the entire team, project managers and staff, would receive bonuses based on the company’s total, annual performance.
This change dramatically affected attitudes, from being competitive to cooperative, combative to supportive.
By improving teamwork in your workplace, you’ll improve productivity and reduce turnover.
- What can you do to increase employee engagement and create a stronger team culture?