Owning a business is about more than having responsibility for selling products or services. It’s about managing every facet of the apparatus that sells those products and services. The most important part of that apparatus is all the people working inside it. If you can’t connect with and lead your team, you’re going to have a hard time actually calling them a team. You need everyone to work together towards the goals of the business. That means doing a bit of work to build real bonds.
Personal cohesion between you and within the individuals of the team is essential. You can’t force everyone to get along but can create professional bonds that make it a lot easier to share perspectives, to get them engaged and to actually make them feel like part of a group. Otherwise, you end up with a lot of individuals who might not be thinking much further than self-interest. Team building exercises in the office can help you build those bonds. But they can do more than that. They can help you, as the boss, break down the barrier enough where people can communicate with you without that fear or apprehension that comes with talking to authority. You need that honesty and input if you really want to know how your team is doing with business.
As well as getting them involved in the whole of the team, you also need to get involved with the individuals. If a business doesn’t pay attention to the needs of its people, then those people are much less likely to care about the needs of the business. This means taking care of simple work standards like keeping them safe and offering them a work environment that is conducive with both the tasks they have to do and their need for work-life balance. It also means investing in them. Train them and offer them new responsibilities in the business. People want to develop and build their career. Offer them those opportunities in the business or they will look elsewhere.
Fostering teamwork mentally is all well and good, but you need to make sure that you’re facilitating it in the day-to-day of what they actually do. This means building the work processes that make it easier to share resources and collaborate on different tasks. For instance, using task management software to help people look over their workload and share it with one another. Be flexible with things like seating and work areas, too. People should have areas for when they need privacy to do their task, but they should also have more open spaces where they can collaborate and communicate more easily. You can’t force teamwork with team building exercises alone. It needs to be a strength of the business.
A group identity, a focus on the needs of the individual and the whole, and a work method that’s conducive to collaboration. Make those pillars of your business and you might end up creating a team that can even find their way without you.