The Happier the Team, the More Productive. A How-To. 

In a Medium article, by Aytekin Tank, Tank discusses how team-building exercises are a thing of the past. Most people want to run for the hills when they hear the words “team-building.” 

Tank states that nurturing your team, over optimization, is vital in creating a happy team.

In essence, I think of our multi-functional teams as living, breathing beings. Yes, they are a collection of diverse and talented individuals. But at their best, they also operate as a single body. And just like plants, animals, and people, teams have several basic needs.” – Tank

 

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Tank offers five basics of nurturing your team into a productive group. 

Nourishment

Your team needs thrilling problems to solve. 

In a Harvard Business Review article, the authors Richard Florida and Jim Goodnight explain that teams are often eager to flex their creative and strategic muscles. The authors cited an Information Weekly survey stating:

“…’challenging work’ ranks considerably higher than even ‘salary’ and other financial rewards as people’s top source of on-the-job motivation.

Independence

Trusting your team to make decisions independently, without always seeking approval, is critical for the productivity and wellness of your team. No one works well under micro-management. 

The antidote to fear is trust, and we all have a desire to find something to trust in an uncertain world. Fear and trust are powerful forces, and while they are not opposites, exactly, trust is the best tool for driving out fear.” – Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace, of Creativity, Inc., on the success of Pixar Animation Studios 

Trust builds confidence for each employee and your team as a whole. That trust will build job satisfaction and enable more productivity. 

Time

Every aspect of our growth, learning, and development takes time.” – Tank

Tank suggests cutting down on unnecessary meetings and allowing flexible schedules for people who don’t fit the 9-5 mold. Tank also suggests other ways to think about time and productivity:

Focus — Make your team work on one project at a time. “This singular focus provides structure and builds momentum.” – Tank

Low-Churn of employees — Creating a safe and comfortable company culture to ensure your employees stay with your company for a long time. Those long-term employees tend to be more productive. 

Growth and Learning — Allowing employees to professionally grow by moving to different departments and learning new skills and positions can be beneficial for employees who are hungry and willing to learn more.  

Space

Allow cross-functional teams to have enough space to collaborate informally. 

If you want to fire up your team, you’ve got to give them room to breathe. You need to loosen the physical and emotional constraints that hold them back and hem them in.” – Dr. Andrew Johnston, author of Fired Up: Kindling and Keeping the Spark in Creative Teams.

If you don’t know what kind of space your team wants and needs, ask them. 

Warmth

…warmth can also be about giving people a mission. Introducing obstacles and encouraging them to work together in order to overcome big challenges.” – Tank

 

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Fostering a productive and healthy company culture takes time; it won’t happen overnight. So, Tank asks you to answer these questions:

How could you warm up your teams and inspire them to grow?

What would accelerate their productivity?