building teams in the workplace

Two Ways to Build a Team Culture in the Workplace


How can we build team culture in the workplace?  This is a question that comes up often when new leaders take over teams.  Here are two ways behavior analysis can help with this.

1) Define Your Team

The first step to building your team is to define who makes up the team, and what behaviors they will need to perform.  Often, leaders come in to situations where the team has been divided up, either by the tasks they are to perform, or by preference of whom they want to interact with.  In defining your team, you need to know how all of the people who are assigned steps of the operational process (see last week's blog: How a Task Analysis Can Transform Your Life) can work together and perform with direct and clear communication.  It is also helpful to create a mission statement (even if it is an informal one) for your team so that everyone is working towards a common goal.  Often, leaders create this mission without input from team members, but it is helpful to hold one-on-one sessions with team members so that all have a say in the mission (see: Three Questions to Ask When Creating a Mission Statement for further information).

2) Motivate Team Performance

Once the team and the behaviors are defined, now is the time to come up with strategies to motivate the team's performance.  Many organizations use incentive systems of positive reinforcement, where "points" or "bonuses" are tied to specific job behaviors to increase performance.  Leaders should not just use these systems to increase job performance (or use revenue as a method of measurement), but define measures to increase social performance and communication of team members in the workplace.  

Environmental changes can also motivate team performance.  If the organization has a "closed door" culture, encourage open doors, or an open floor plan meeting space with refreshments for employees to take breaks away from their desks and engage in dialogue.  Depending on the budget, team building days where team members can pair up with people they don't normally interact with in an activity outside the office can also help increase communication.  Holding informal lunch meetings can also help to increase dialogue among team members, and as the leader you can invite and facilitate these meetings, but be sure to group participants in groups that normally do not interact, giving them space to engage in open communication with each other.

Have additional strategies to build team culture?  Leave a comment below!

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