Ping pong tables and bean bags chairs are not culture. In fact culture, or building a strong team has little to do with material things and much to do with the people.
So many of us are striving to figure out how to build a strong team, or how to improve team culture because we know that a strong team culture in the workplace is like a winning ticket.
An engaged team member is a productive team member.
A happy team member also provides outstanding service.
Great reasons for making it your goal to build a strong team culture a priority.
Of course building team culture is not easy. Creating a positive team culture requires a very intentional set of steps.
In this mini training I am sharing some of the most crucial steps you need to take in order to build that culture you want.
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5 Actionable Steps for New Managers
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What is culture?
Now before we get into the steps, I just want to make sure that you and I are on the same page here as to what team culture is and what it is not.
For some reason people seem to think that culture is about ping pong tables, bean bags and nap rooms when that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Some companies that have all of that and more, and yet they have toxic cultures whereas the companies out there that are small with limited funds have great cultures. And that’s because it’s not about the stuff. It’s about the people and the way they work.
Culture is really all about the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that are present.
This is why in order for you to have a strong team culture though, you have to be intentional about it. Because behaviours and attitudes will just happen on it’s own if it is not being intentionally shaped.
Here are 5 important steps you should take if you are looking to create a strong team culture.
Step 1: Determine where you are and where you want to be
Taking an honest look at what’s going on now is really important, because that will help you determine the steps you need to take in order to get to the next level.
Determine what decisions you have made that you will either have to change moving forward in order to get you to where you want to be.
Now I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but whatever the current culture is good or bad – that’s probably a direct reflection of you.
A company’s culture, a team’s culture is always a direct reflection of its leader.
So if the culture you have right now is lacking in trust, if there is dissension, or disunity, gossip and a whole lot of drama then you have to look at what actions you have taken to contribute to that.
Perhaps you hired the wrong people, (been there) or maybe you rewarded the wrong people who are the very ones causing the dissension and disunity.
Maybe you have shied away from having difficult conversations with people that you know are causing problems.
Whatever it is you gotta take a hard look at the choices you have made – because culture is really built off of a collection of choices.
So determine what was the root cause of those poorly made decisions and figure out a way to not make them again.
Step 2: Determine what the behaviours and values are that you want to see
This is something that might very well align with the company’s current values, or it could be your own team values or charter.
If you don’t currently have a set of team values, what a great team building exercise that could be to do together!
Step 3: Commit to following through
Whatever you decide upon with your team, you have to make a decision to be all in and commit to it in all that you do.
This is going to but you can’t be committed only half the time unless you aren’t serious about creating a strong team culture.
Now if it’s not what you want, that’s okay. But be honest with yourself on that because if you want it, you have to commit to it.
Your team will follow your lead, so if you aren’t serious about what you say and what’s important to you – why should your team be?
That means you gotta hire by your values, reward by your values, promote and fire by what you say.
No excuses, there is no such thing as a “talented individual” that just doesn’t live by the values or behaviours.
If you want to build a strong team culture you gotta put in the work.
Step 4: Make sure your team has a clearly defined team purpose
Here’s the deal, people want to know that what they do actually matters. No matter how big or small.
As long as it has some sort of impact in the bigger picture.
You would be surprised to know one of the things that causes drive in people is not the money but actually working towards something bigger than themselves together.
So clarify that purpose and help the team as well as each individual understand why what they do actually matters.
Step 5: Develop a system for communication
Communication is so vital yet one of the things that most teams struggle with the most. So make it an important part of work life to communicate and to communicate well.
Set up intentional communication systems such as team meetings, one on one meetings and check ins so that you are able to communicate with the team on things such as team purpose, values and the work itself.
These mechanisms ensure that communication is happening regularly as well as effectively.
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