Executive Coaching Articles

3 Strategies to Build a Team of Relationships

Most C-level executives and top management leaders know that establishing positive relationships with colleagues and building strong teams is necessary to improve work productivity levels and increase profits. Some common management approaches to building a team of relationships include attending team building workshops and hosting corporate events, outings, and parties to encourage camaraderie. Managers often send employees to personal growth seminars in the hopes that they will become better team players.

Although all of the above approaches work to a certain level, smart executives know that the best kind of team building is that which happens every day in the regular work environment.

For example, when Hewlett Packard just started out, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard formulated a system to manage their staff by a method they called “management by walking around.” Each week they would get away from their computers and walk around the office and have a conversation with their team. This simple concept was actually quite brilliant as it gave them a chance to get to know their team members in a way that would not have been possible through meetings or emails.

Here are three ways to build a better company by fostering a work environment conductive to building a strong team of genuine relationships:

  1. Get away from the computer screen: Although modern technology has made our jobs much easier, it’s also made us less social. You might sit next to a person for 7-8 hours in a day but hardly talk to them. Although setting boundaries with coworkers is important, effective managers recognize that in order to build team relationships they need to set time aside to get people away from their computer screens and get them to start interacting face to face. Short and focused team meetings and corporate power lunches are a good way to start.
  2. Change group meeting dynamics: Tired of meetings where the presenter reads everything off PowerPoint slides? Sure, your presentation might be pretty, but it could also be detrimental to team interaction. Introduce a problem at hand and have everyone write a proposed solution on a post-it note and stick it on the wall. Use this to brainstorm solutions. Another approach is to divide a large group into 2-3 smaller teams and see which team comes up with the best idea. Simple approaches like these can positively motivate employees and impact group dynamics by improving communication, coordinating responsibilities and helping employees build genuine relationships.
  3. Don’t use team building events as the last resort: Some corporations think that sending their employees to a team building workshop is the magic formula to get them inspired and working together productively again. Sure, team building events work, but only if executive directors and managers display the same level of trust and respect toward their teams in a normal working day. Every week, take a member of your team out to lunch. This is a great way to get to know them and find out if they have any concerns. It is also a good way to provide feedback. Team building takes practice and work. You as a leader need to take the first step to change team dynamics before expecting much from your team.

As a smart leader, do not ignore the importance of team building when it comes to improving productivity levels. Follow the above tips to nurture strong working relationships to build a team that can handle demanding projects and stay motivated during challenging times.

If you’re an executive leader, manager, or supervisor, an Executive Coaching Program can help you cultivate teamwork in your organization and become the respected and admired leader you’ve always wanted to be.