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How to Take Your Team from “Me” to “We”

Tuesday May 15th 2018

Managing a team of individuals with unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses can be a daunting task. You’ve made sure to hire a team full of superstars who are talented, hard-working and dedicated to success. Your employees should never be discouraged from striving for their own personal success, as it is vital to their feelings of satisfaction in their work. However, it’s important to make sure that their personal goals don’t overshadow the goals of the team.

The “me” mentality can be very detrimental to any company, as individual employees see themselves as separate from their coworkers. Perhaps they feel superior or inferior, and therefore see no value in contributing to the team. Or maybe they feel their work is not recognized or valued, and no longer feel motivated to push themselves. Whatever the motivation behind the mindset, if you find yourself managing a team of “me” thinkers, it’s time to turn that “me” into a “we.”

Here are three ways to get your employees thinking, acting and succeeding as a team.

It’s All About Relationships

Oftentimes a company culture that isn’t focused on building personal and professional relationships can create a group of employees who have adopted an “every man for himself” mentality. If bridges haven’t been built between team members, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone on an island.

Bridge those gaps between coworkers by encouraging them to establish and build personal relationships with each other. By establishing a connection with one another, they will form bonds that become the building blocks of a great team. They will celebrate successes, work through failures, and push towards a common goal together, rather than each employee carrying his or her personal workload and hoping it lines up with the rest of the team’s workload.

Encourage communication that spans beyond the current project or office minutiae. Let your employees get to know one another as equals so that they are invested in each other’s lives and motivated to help each other succeed.

While you’re encouraging your employees to communicate and build relationships with one another, don’t forget to be part of that process yourself. It’s easy for management to feel as if they are separated from the rest of the team. But a successful team is led by managers who develop strong bonds with their employees as well.

Focus on the Positive

Another important way to turn transform your employees into team players is to focus on developing a strengths-based culture within the office. A strengths-based culture is one where you play to each employee’s individual strengths in order to contribute to the overall success of the team.

Strengths-based cultures promote more positive work environments and encourage your employees to celebrate one other’s strengths. If you’ve heard the phrase, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” this is the perfect representation of that thought. Each of your employees working alone can accomplish great things, but when they combine their unique talents and strengths, success is imminent.

Act Like a Team

The average person spends a third of their life at work. In that time, you have the opportunity to be part of a bigger picture and to contribute to something greater to achieve success with your team. If you want your employees to stop thinking only about themselves and to start thinking as a team, then the most important solution is simple: lead by example. Treat your employees like teammates and they will respond in kind.

You may be a manager, but that doesn’t mean the insights and opinions of your employees aren’t equally important contributions to the team. You can still maintain your authority as a leader while also encouraging and supporting your employees’ rights to participate in important decisions. Offer open communication, encourage innovation, and seek out the opinions of your trusted employees. You will build mutual respect for one another, which is the foundation for any great team.

The most important thing to remember when trying to take your team from “me” to “we” is that your employees will follow your example. The manner in which you interact with each person will set the tone for the company culture you create. If you want to create team players, you need to start by becoming one yourself.

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