As a manager, leader, or business owner, you know that your company works best when the social fabric that binds your employees is strong. The social fabric in your workplace should resemble the fabric of a trusty scarf: flexible, durable, warm, and fun. Your employees should trust each other, listen to each other, and take interest in each other’s ideas and contributions. They should back each other up instead of throwing each other under the bus, they should communicate opening instead of being cagey, and instead of feeling competitive with each other, they should recognize that the true competition lies outside of your walls and the only way to win is to win together.
So if you’re developing team-building exercises and looking for ways to foster this kind of social atmosphere, here are a few tips that can help.
Let Conversation Flow Naturally
You’ve gathered your employees in a conference room for a team-building experience, like a brainstorming session, a trust fall, or a post-mortem at the completion of a project. And as the session unfolds, the conversation occasionally veers away from the single, rigid goal that brought the group together. So what? Let it veer. Allow them to get off the topic or task and just talk to each other. If the conversational thread takes them into popular TV shows, personal life events, or just feelings that aren’t strictly relevant to the task, let it happen. This is how coworkers become teammates and teammates (ideally, eventually) become friends.
Encourage Bonds to Form Among Your Staff
Don’t try to dictate the form, nature, and limitations of employee relationships. Exceptions exist of course (abuse should never be tolerated), but allow them to follow the flow of the room and the scene, even if some interactions don’t reflect polished corporate perfection. Sometimes relationships form through friction, mistakes, arguments, forgiveness, snark, inside jokes, secrets, and gossip; If you make moves to squash these things, you may keep every interaction “professional” (at least the ones your employees are willing to let you see), but your employees won’t feel entirely comfortable in this space. You won’t learn anything about who they really are, and neither will they.
Set the Example
If you want to foster a certain quality in your workplace, display that behavior on the outside and examine your motivations inwardly to ensure the behavior comes from your true intentions, not a cheap performance. Hold yourself accountable. Your employees will behave with kindness if they see you doing so and they see you encouraging and praising the behavior in others. Exchange “kindness” for any number of other qualities you’d like to see them bring forth: integrity, honesty, friendliness, loyalty to the company and each other, the list goes on.
Contact PSU Today
Show your employees the kind of teamwork you’d like them to show in return and watch what happens. In the meantime, check in with the experts at PSU for more ways to strengthen your workplace culture. Contact us today to get started!