Foster Respect and Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

Your team at the office is just like a rock band. There are different personalities, backgrounds, and individual goals to contend with, and if you’d like to improve teamwork in the workplace, you need to foster an environment of mutual respect. Not just between you are your employees, but between employees and their coworkers.

Without respect for your bandmates, a rock star will never make it big. In order to really rock, you need to treat others with dignity and be tolerant of their differences.

Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that one of the biggest threats to a team working cohesively is a lack of mutual respect. In order to create this type of culture, you need to first understand what it looks like, and then learn how to implement it within your department.

What Does “Respect” Look Like in the Workplace?

If you don’t understand what respect is, it’s difficult to know whether you’ve got it at work. Here are a few signs that your employees respect you (and vice versa) and each other:

  • Allowing people their turn to speak – There is nothing more infuriating than being asked a question and then not being given the opportunity to answer. When you interrupt your employees or allow staff to interrupt one another, you send the message that their thoughts, their opinions, and their voices don’t matter.
  • Pay attention to your non-verbal communication – Not everyone has a “poker face” but when you make unpleasant facial expressions, roll your eyes, or cross your arms over your chest defiantly, people notice. Being subjected to these nonverbal cues can be demeaning to any employee.
  • Treat Everyone the Same – It’s fairly obvious (though still bears mentioning) that you should treat everyone equally no matter what their race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. But what about their job title? Do you treat some members of your team better than others based on their duties in the office? Does the person who cleans the toilets deserve any less respect than management? People are people and if you’d like your staff to work together, they have to understand that they are all important to the team.
  • Praise Others for their Accomplishments – Celebrating a job well-done shows employees that they are appreciated and respected. When you create a culture of celebration, your employees will take the cue and praise one another when a goal has been reached.

How Do you Encourage Respect?

Now that you have a clear understanding of how “respectful behaviors” look, how do you encourage your employees to engage in them?

1) Lead by example. You can talk about respect all you want, but if you aren’t modeling it for your employees, no one else will either.

2) Highlight everyone’s value. Make sure your employees understand that each and every one of them has different experience, different skills, and different goals. However, that doesn’t make one person any more valuable than another’s. A band wouldn’t sound very good if everyone played the bass. You need different types of talent to make beautiful music.

3) Discourage gossip. The quickest way to lose respect is to talk badly about someone. People will lose respect for the gossiper, the “victim” of the gossip, you as a manager for not shutting it down, and themselves for listening and not defending their coworker.

4) Discuss expectations. Be clear when you onboard a new employee, and host a meeting for existing employees to help them understand why respect for their coworkers is important, what it looks like in action, and how they can be a part of creating a culture of respect.

When you want your team members to work together, ensuring that they respect one another and the job they are there to do will help improve relationships, teamwork, and your bottom line. Create rock star results with respect.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Find out what it means to me  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Aretha Franklin (written by Otis Redding)

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

How to Prevent Gossip to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

Do you remember those dreaded cliques in High School? Whispers and glances as you walked through the halls? It would be nice if schoolyard gossip ended when we stopped going to school. But unfortunately, it often follows us into the office. If you’d like to improve teamwork in the workplace, you’ll need to nip gossip in the bud and improve the culture of communication in your department.

When band members talk behind one another’s back, trust is broken, feelings get hurt, and eventually, the tight-knit unit will erode. The same thing will happen within your company if you don’t get a handle on gossip. Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that if you want your employees to achieve rock star results, gossip has no place in the workplace.

The Dangers of “Water Cooler Gossip”

It’s so easy to share what you know about other people. And 90% of the time, you’re not trying to hurt them. Unfortunately, when you talk about a coworker without them present, problems arise including:

  • Lost productivity. This seems like it goes without saying, but if your employees spend all their time talking about each other, they won’t spend any time working toward their goals.
  • Destruction of trust. Your employees are less likely to lean on one another for support, come to each other with issues, and trust each other if gossip is being spread.
  • Destruction of friendships and respect. When you hear something negative about someone, you tend to view them through that filter.
  • Destruction of reputations. Nothing can ruin a career faster than a rumor running rampant through the office.
  • Anxiety among employees. When gossip is spreading throughout the office, you can feel it hanging in the air. This increases anxiety, not just for the topic of conversation, but for everyone involved.

When gossip becomes a common theme in your office, your employees will be less satisfied at work, take more sick days, and eventually quit to escape the environment. Creating a “no-gossip zone” is not just good for improving teamwork, it’s necessary for the health of your business.

How to Prevent Gossip in the Workplace

As a manager, it’s your job to set a good example for your employees, to educate them about the dangers of gossip, and to construct guidelines to prevent it from happening within your team. You can do this by:

  • Communicate expectations. Host a department-wide meeting to let your employees know what constitutes “gossip” and that there will be repercussions for engaging in this behavior. Be very clear that you have a zero-tolerance policy and that it is there to protect every employee.
  • Encourage employees to come to you if they hear gossip among the team. Promise that any reports will be strictly confidential (and uphold that promise) so they are comfortable approaching you.
  • Address the gossiper face to face. Let them know that their behavior is not acceptable, that they are damaging the team, and then dole out whatever consequence you outlined during the meeting.
  • Encourage positive talk throughout the office. If employees are busy building each other up, they won’t have time to tear each other down.
  • Advise employees to be cautious about who they share aspects of their personal life with. While it’s good team building to encourage socialization among employees, they should also be aware that personal information should only be shared with those they really trust.

When you make a conscious effort to improve the working environment of your team by removing gossip from the office, your employees will rise to the rank of rock stars.

“I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn’t weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.”-  Paul McCartney

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

5 Ways to Deal with Conflict to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

From the outside, your team may look happy. They’re all smiling, chatting, and laughing. But underneath, resentment is brewing. The fact of the matter is, you can’t improve teamwork in the workplace until you address the underlying conflicts between your employees.

“But my team actually likes each other!”

That may be the case, but human beings have conflict, whether you admit or accept it. Sometimes the issues start out small, like someone taking the last cup of coffee and not brewing another pot. But eventually, the issues can multiply until you have an all-out war on your hands. You spend 40+ hours a week with your work “family.” How could conflict not arise?

Do you think that bands don’t get at each other’s throats when they’re on the road? Of course, they do! Personality types vary and when you spend that much time with others, problems are bound to happen. Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that the question isn’t whether or not there will be conflict, it’s how will you handle conflict when it comes.

How to Handle Workplace Conflict

When you know how to cut conflict off at the pass and communicate with your employees, you can improve the way that they relate to each other and prevent any situations from which there’s no coming back. Here are a few tips:

  1. Clearly state objectives, responsibilities, and acceptable behavior.

Just because conflict is inevitable, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything in your power to ward it off. The best way to do this is to make every single employee aware of what is expected of them within their job description and within their interpersonal relationships.

  1. Handle conflict the moment it appears.

While it may be easier (in the short term) to ignore workplace conflict, it will ultimately lead to the breakdown of your employee’s relationships. When a disagreement comes to your attention that may have the potential to become a larger issue, call the parties into your office and discuss the situation openly and honestly.

  1. Discuss behaviors, not personalities.

Whenever you give feedback, whether it’s to an individual during a performance review, or to employees during a conflict resolution session, you want to focus on behaviors that can be changed rather than personalities that are static.

Imagine being told that your coworkers don’t like your attitude. What are you supposed to do with that? Now imagine being told that your coworkers don’t appreciate when you complain (loudly) to your friends on the phone about your current assignment and the people you have to work with.

Behaviors can be changed. Attacking a person’s personality is unproductive and will create more resentment.

  1. Identify where they agree and where they disagree.

Oftentimes, employee’s opinions aren’t that far off from one another. The bigger issue is that they aren’t listening to each other and taking the time to hear what the other has to say. This is where you come in. You can identify the points on which they agree and don’t agree, hear both arguments for the disagreements, and then move them towards a place of agreement.

  1. See conflict as an opportunity to improve.

When conflict arises, you may handle it quickly and expertly, but are you taking full advantage of the opportunity? You have a few options for making this a learning experience. These include:

  • Finding the source of the conflict and making changes to prevent it in the future.
  • Explaining the conflict resolution process to your employees as you walk them through it.
  • Using the disagreement to showcase opposing viewpoints and explain how different ideas and beliefs actually make the team stronger.

While conflict may seem like a negative at the time, opportunity rocks!

One of the most important aspects of conflict resolution in the workplace is to create an environment of open communication. If your employees are afraid to bring issues to you for fear of punishment or repercussions, you won’t know about conflict until it’s too late.

Let your employees know that you are there for them, that you are all a part of the team, and that conflict will be dealt with in a safe, non-judgmental space. When you truly learn how to handle conflict, your team will work together and achieve rockstar results.

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” Jimi Hendrix

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

5 Tips to Foster Open Communication & Improve Teamwork at Work!

Claiming you have an “open door” policy is all well and good. However, if your behaviors don’t support a culture of open communication, your policy won’t inspire rock star results or improve teamwork in the workplace.

Open communication refers to an environment where employees are kept in the loop regarding the company and the department’s progress, where they encouraged to approach management with any concerns or ideas that may arise, and where their input is valued and rewarded.

Rockstars take input from their bandmates because the collaboration makes them stronger and helps them produce better music. Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that when you foster an environment of open communication in the office, you motivate your team to work together and produce the best results possible.

The Benefits of Open Communication

Fostering this type of environment has many benefits for the employees as well as for the company as a whole.

  1. Show your employees that you value and trust them – creating a true “open door” policy where employees are free to discuss their ideas and their challenges, allows them to feel as if they are truly part of something bigger than themselves. The company’s mission will become their mission and they will work harder towards that goal.
  2. Recognize problems before they become unbearable – your employees are on the frontline of the business and they will recognize issues that arise well before you do. Giving them the freedom to bring these issues to your attention assures that you can address them before they become a larger problem.
  3. Inspire creative solutions to problems – your brain is wonderful, however, having all of your team members brains available to create solutions is even better. Your employees have likely already thought of some solutions before they brought the issue to your attention. Give them the space to share those.
  4. Resolve conflict between employees quickly – no matter how wonderful your team is, human beings will always experience conflict with one another. You can ignore this and pretend that everything is alright while your team disintegrates, or you can invite them to bring their challenges to you, address them immediately, and then resolve them immediately to keep your team strong and solidified.

How to Foster Open Communication

Now that you’re convinced that you need to create an environment of open communication for the good of your team and your business, how do you do it? Here are 4 steps to ensure that you make the most out of this environment:

  1. Be Transparent – Employees that feel you are hiding the state of the company from them, have no reason to be open and honest with you. If you want your employees to communicate with you, you need to do the same for them.
  2. Be Clear About Roles and Responsibilities – When each employee knows what the others do, they will be more likely to work together and support one another, and less likely to step on each other’s toes.
  3. Hold Regular Meetings – Encourage employees to share their concerns and their ideas in a public forum and then praise them for doing so.
  4. Send out Surveys – If a topic is controversial and employees may feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas or beliefs, create anonymous surveys so they can be open and honest without fear of fall out.
  5. Thank Employees for their Feedback – Even when you don’t like it. It takes a lot of strength to approach management with a complaint or idea. If an employee is met with negativity, mocking, or punishment, they will never make another suggestion.

When you create a culture of open communication in the workplace, your employees will relate better to you, to each other, and they will achieve rock star results.

“We’re five people, five individuals who came together to create something, to make music and to complete each other musically, to form a perfect circle.” Maynard James Keenan

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

Stop Micromanaging and Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

Have you ever uttered the words “I like to keep tabs on my employees”? When it comes to motivating your employees to achieve rock star results and to improve teamwork in the workplace, identifying and stopping your micromanaging behavior is the first step.

Imagine if a band’s manager was so busy standing over the musicians telling them how to play their instruments, that they had no time to book gigs, write up contracts, or market the band. The group wouldn’t be playing music for very long.

The same is true of your team at work. Marvelless Mark® reminds his clients that if you don’t give employees the space to do what they do best, you won’t have time to do what you do best. Not to mention, you’ll have some very irritated employees on your hands. Even worse, micromanaging behavior can be detrimental to how your team interacts with one another.

Why is Micromanaging so Harmful to Your Team

Whether you intend to or not, this type of behavior sends a very clear message to your employees:

“I don’t trust you.”

When your employees believe that you don’t trust them, problems begin to brew.

Issues for Employees

They will become less satisfied with their position, less interested in going above and beyond, less creative with solutions, and they will back away from increased responsibility and opportunities for growth.

Issues for You

Just like that band manager who loses sight of the big picture because he’s too busy trying to play all the instruments, you won’t have time to keep your eye on the larger vision that you’ve identified for your team. You’ll be so busy doing everyone else’s work that you won’t have time to do your own. You’ll be stressed, resentful, and your employees won’t like you very much.

Issues for the Team

While it may seem like this kind of behavior won’t affect the interpersonal relationships of your employees and affect their ability to work as a team, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you don’t trust your employees to do their jobs, why would their coworkers? Micromanaging behavior breeds mistrust throughout the department and creates hostility.

Are You a Micromanager?

Like any behavior, admitting it is half the battle. If you insist on being cc’d on every email that’s sent, if you check in on your employees multiple times throughout the day or find yourself watching their work over their shoulder, you may be a micromanager. The best way to find out… ask.

Yes, this is going to require showing some vulnerability to your staff, but while it may appear weak, it’s actually a show of strength and your team will respect you more for it.

“Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new.” – Steven Tyler

Bring a few of your most trusted employees in for an informal chat either individually or as a small group.  Ask them the following questions:

  • Do they feel empowered to make decisions on their own?
  • Do they feel as if your requirement for “check-ins” is hampering their ability to get their job done?
  • How would they describe your management style? Would they prefer something else?
  • Would they consider you a micromanager or “helicopter manager”?

Once you’ve determined that you are indeed micromanaging, you’ll need to figure out why. There are a number of reasons that can factor into this such as:

  • Insecurity: You’re afraid you’ll look bad if they don’t do something well.
  • Ego: You think you can do it better and in less time.
  • Lack of trust: You don’t think your employees can handle the tasks they’ve been given.

There is one situation where your micromanaging behavior may be a symptom of a larger problem. If you haven’t always micromanaged, you may have lost faith in your employees… and sometimes for good reason. If you’ve tasked an employee with a project in the past, trained them properly to complete it, and they did not produce, it may be time to evaluate their skills and then move them to another position or release them from the company.

Micromanaging is a dangerous behavior whether you’re managing a band or a department of salespeople. When you recognize and understand your behavior, you’ll be able to lead your team in a way that produces rockstar results for each employee and for the company as a whole.

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

Encouraging Socialization to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

Socializing inside or outside of the office used to be frowned upon by many employers, and often, employees just want to head home after a long day at work. However, when it comes to improving teamwork in the workplace, developing relationships outside of work may be the key to success.

Think about it, rock stars spend just about every waking moment with their band. They play together, practice together, eat together, and live together for extended periods. Rock stars create relationships with one another. They are not just people that make music together, they are a family.

Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that if you want your team to create rockstar results, give them the opportunity to socialize.

The Benefits of Creating a Culture of Socialization

As a manager, you want your employees to work together as a well-oiled machine. When they are given the chance to get to know each other as friends and not just coworkers, it opens a world of possibilities.

1) Employees form actual friendships and are more willing to support each other.

2) Problems are often solved during “off-time.”

3) Team members learn about each other’s personalities and better understand how to navigate their relationships.

4) Employees learn from each other and form unofficial mentorships or masterminds which help them move further in their career.

5) They work better as a team and have fewer issues.

Depending on the average age of your staff, creating a social environment may be even more important than you think. Millenials expect an environment of collaboration and crave the “after hours” socialization.

Tips to Encouraging Socialization Inside and Outside of the Office

While an impromptu pizza party can always inspire conversation in the office, there are a number of ways that you can create the “band” atmosphere for your business rock stars.

1) Incentivize carpooling. Suggest that employees who live close to one another take turns driving the work. Stress that it improves the environment, and offer a reward for doing so. This can be monetary, time off, or entry into a contest to win prizes.

2) Create communal spaces that employees want to be in. If your break room is dark, dank, and depressing, no one is going to want to be there. Design a space that is comfortable, well lit, and encourages employees to dine together. If space permits, create a space outdoors as well. Your employees will spend more time together and they’ll reap all the health benefits that nature has to offer.

3) Encourage employees to exercise together on breaks. A 20 minute walk can clear the brain, fuel the soul, and spark a deeper friendship. Depending on the size of your company or department, you may even offer workout classes that employees can join throughout the day.

4) Schedule happy hours or dinners once a month and invite employees to get together outside of the work environment.

5) Host family events like a picnic, a day at the park or zoo, or an outing to a sporting event. Not only will your employees get to know each other better, but they’ll also get to know spouses and children and potentially form even stronger bonds. If you choose to do this, be sure to make the day about fun and socialization, not work. There is nothing worse than being taken to a fun, beautiful location… and being stuck in a conference room all day talking about work.

When it comes to working together as a team, take a nod from the successful rock stars and become more than just coworkers. Become a family.

“Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

Can Team Interviews Improve Teamwork in the Workplace?

The traditional interview consists of a boss or HR manager speaking one-on-one with a job candidate. While this method has been used throughout history, if you are looking to improve teamwork in the workplace and create rock star results for your department, it’s time to consider using a team interviewing process.

Yes, facing a room full of people can be daunting for a potential hire. It’s scary enough going into an interview with one other person and now you want them to talk to 5? However, meeting the other employees and having them meet the candidate can improve your hiring decisions and strengthen your team for the future.

Marvelless Mark® reminds his clients that when rock stars need to replace someone in the band, the decision is often made as a group. After all, everyone has to work with this person, so why wouldn’t they get a say in who joins the group? Your business is no different. Your employees will spend 8-10 hours a day working with whoever gets hired, wouldn’t you want it to be someone they like?

The Benefits of a Team Interview

You or your HR manager may be a good judge of character, but there are a variety of benefits to having more people involved in the decision. The interviewing team will be able to assess the following questions during the process:

1) Are they a good cultural fit for the department? Workplace culture is incredibly important and finding someone with a similar mindset as your existing team will ensure a more seamless process.

2) Do they have the personality necessary? Skills and experience are important, but your employees are on the front line and know the personality and characteristics necessary to do the job.

3) Are they capable of collaborating on projects? Most companies don’t have employees working as solo artists. Daily activities, as well as special projects, require that employees help each other and work as a team.

Tips for Conducting a Team Interview

Like anything else, when done properly, a team interview can be a positive way of hiring. When done wrong… it can be a disaster. Here are some tips on how to successfully include your team in the hiring decision.

1) Consider starting out with one-on-one interviews. Your employees are busy and have their own jobs to do. Potential hires should be vetted before they reach the group interview. Do they meet all of the qualifications? Present well? Show up on time?

2) Inform job candidates of the process so they don’t walk into the situation and feel blindsided. Let them know that they will be meeting some of the other employees and explain your objectives in this process.

3) Inform your hiring team of what the job responsibilities are and what you are looking for in a new hire. They should be well versed in the role being filled and its requirements.

4) Create a structure for your hiring team so they know when it’s their turn to speak and what they need to ask. Also educate them on what not to ask to prevent any legal nightmares.

5) Let your hiring team know how the final decision will be made so there is no confusion or hard feelings later on. Will you be making the decision based off of their feedback? Will they be voting?

Including your team members in the hiring process can help select job candidates that will gel with your team, enhance the company’s culture, and produce rock star results.  Sure, it’s not the way that it’s “always been done,” but…

“Where’s your will to be weird?” – Jim Morrison

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

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5 Ways That Meetings Can Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

When you think about how to improve teamwork in the workplace, holding meetings may be the last thing that comes to mind. Employees usually want fewer meetings, not more. But, when done properly, meetings can help to create a culture of teamwork, inspiring your employees to work together, lean on each other for support, and push each other to do great things.

Just like a rock and roll band, your employees need to play together to make successful music.  As Marvelless Mark® tells his clients, the music doesn’t happen without everyone’s participation.

Meetings give you the opportunity to foster trust and companionship among your staff. They provide a safe place for employees to air grievances (and brainstorm solutions), create a feeling of camaraderie, and get to know each other on a different level.

How to incorporate teamwork into your regular meetings

There are several things you can do to improve teamwork through your scheduled meetings. You can:

Include team building exercises

You don’t have to climb walls in the middle of the woods to foster teamwork among your employees. There are exercises you can do at the beginning of your meetings to get team members working together and thinking as a group. These can include Follow the Leader, creating a story as a group (one word at a time), or for you rock stars, throw on some music, start a band and have everyone jam out on their air guitars. It may seem silly, but play allows people to loosen up and work together.

Play Show and Tell

A big part of working as a team is knowing who your teammates are and what they like to do. Do you remember playing Show and Tell in school? You brought something in from home and had the chance to tell the class a little bit about yourself. Encourage your employees to do the same. They are all individuals with interests and experiences outside of the office. Sharing those with the team will help them bond.

Celebrate team successes

Who doesn’t like to celebrate? After a great gig, you can bet that the rock stars will be partying hard on their tour bus, congratulating each other for a successful show. It’s not much different at work (though there are fewer groupies). People want to be acknowledged for the work they do. When you acknowledge what a team has accomplished together, you encourage them to work in harmony to reach their goals and fulfill the company’s vision.

Create teams to tackle challenges

If your company is facing a difficult time or must overcome a setback, put employees together in teams to brainstorm and work on solutions. When an employee is responsible for solving a problem by his or her self, it puts a great deal of pressure on them and can stifle their creativity. However, when a team is responsible for coming up with a solution, the pressure is off, the creativity is flowing, and the team will uncover ideas that no one would’ve thought of alone. It’s like a jam session where musicians play off of each other to create new music.

Host a “fake” meeting

Now this one may sound silly, but wouldn’t you love it if you walked into a meeting that you were dreading… and the only thing on the agenda was pizza? Throwing the occasional fake meeting will improve morale and give employees an opportunity to chat and get to know each other on a personal level. Chances are that at some point they’ll even start talking about work and some problems might get solved because there is no pressure on them to do so.

Here are more tips for hosting an effective meeting.

In order for your team to create rockstar results, they need to play together as a band. Fostering teamwork among your employees will improve morale and increase your bottom line.

“Good music comes out of people playing together, knowing what they want to do and going for it.”          – Keith Richards

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

7 Celebrations to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

You’ve probably worked in one of those offices where you can hear a pin drop and the only interactions are employees shooting each other dirty looks over their cubicles. You may even work in one now. Fostering an environment where employees cooperate and support one another, like a successful band who creates beautiful music,  means improving teamwork in the workplace.

Because when your team doesn’t work together, they are not happy. And when they’re not happy, your bottom line suffers. Sales are lower, sick days are more frequent, and productivity drops by the wayside. Thankfully, you can improve how your employees relate to one another by creating a culture of celebration and festiveness.

What to Celebrate

Consider a rock band. Their tour buses and backstage are anything but subdued. They celebrate everything: a great show, a new album, a recent accolade.

There are many opportunities to boost morale in your workplace and improve teamwork (no tour bus required). These include:

  1. Personal milestones: When employees get engaged, have a child, even have a birthday, you can take the opportunity to show them how special they are.
  2. Reaching goals: Have your employees reached a certain level in sales? Did they just close a huge deal or utilize some impressive customer service skills? Show your team members that their hard work is appreciated.
  3. Failure: Failing means you tried something. It means that your employees stepped out of their comfort zones and used their creativity to approach a problem. Just because it doesn’t work, doesn’t mean their efforts shouldn’t be acknowledged.
  4. Working together: When it comes to improving teamwork, rewarding the behavior reinforces it. Rather than pitting employees against each other, encourage them to work in groups to reach goals, solve problems, and further each teammate’s progress.
  5. Community engagement: Do your employees volunteer? Do they walk dogs at the shelter, read to children, or help build homes for the less fortunate? Why not show them that you support their extra-curricular activities? There’s nothing wrong with recognizing employees for the good they do outside of work. Bonus points if you organize activities for them to do as a group and then give them paid time off to do it. When employees socialize outside the office, especially when they are working together towards the greater good, they create stronger relationships and inspire teamwork.
  6. Holidays: Anyone can be festive on Christmas and New Years, but celebrating the small holidays just gives you another reason to encourage socialization and raise morale in your department.
  7. Just because: If you really want to inspire rock star results from your employees, buy them pizza on a random day, bring in a cake that says “Thank you for being you,” or sponsor a happy hour after work. They’ll have the opportunity to chat and socialize, they’ll be happier because they’re well fed, and you will look like a hero for taking care of your employees.

How to Get your Employees on Board

If you don’t get buy-in from your employees on the culture and energy of a celebratory environment, you’ll have nothing more than cake and eye rolls. Here are a few suggestions for getting them on board:

1) Create a committee that helps to organize events, comes up with creative ideas for rewards and can research volunteer opportunities for the team.

2) Set aside a budget to pay for food, drinks, and prizes.

3) Encourage socialization during work hours. If you have the space available, create a room dedicated to non-work activities… which is always prepped for a party.

Marvelless Mark® always tells his clients that people love any excuse for a party. When you create a festive work environment, you raise the energy of the office, the productivity of your employees, and you improve their ability to work as a team towards a unified goal.

Like Kool and the Gang once said, “Celebrate good times. Come on!”

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars.

Clearly Define Roles to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace

As a manager, one of your main jobs is to create an environment where employees work well together towards a common goal or vision. One of the ways to improve teamwork in the workplace is to ensure that each employee knows exactly what is expected of them and what should be left to others.

Marvelless Mark® compares a successful team to a successful band.  “Musicians talk about those awesome moments where the sound is “tight,” where all the instruments and vocal elements blend together to create something greater than anyone could create alone.”

When it’s time to put your band together, you don’t put a call out for “musicians.” You are looking for a singer, a guitarist, a bass player, a drummer, and maybe a keyboard player. When you bring on any of these people, they know exactly what their role is in the band. They don’t wonder if you want them to play a different instrument the next day. The guitarist won’t kick the drummer off his drums, and the bass player isn’t likely to sing over the lead vocalist. They know what their roles are and because of this, they can create music as one.

Now imagine that your department ran just as well. Everyone knows exactly what they’re doing. They are willing to help and support their fellow teammates, and no one is trying to shirk their responsibilities in the hope that someone else will pick up their slack.

This may get a little murky in situations where multiple projects are happening at once, and where employees don’t have set roles but rather fluid responsibilities based on the project at hand. The more work you do up front to communicate expectations, the better off it will be in the end.

The Benefits of Clearly Defined Responsibilities

  • Employees know what to do. They understand the goals of the group and they know exactly what they have to accomplish in order to reach those goals.
  • Employees enjoy working together. When they know exactly where their responsibilities end and their coworkers’ begin, they will be less likely to step on another employee’s toes to “look good” or to ignore their responsibility in the hopes that someone else will do it.
  • All aspects of the project get completed. Instead of everyone shying away from the less-enjoyable tasks, they are clearly assigned, communicated, and finished.

How to Define Responsibilities for your Staff

When it’s time to assign roles and responsibilities to your employees, there as several steps that you need to follow:

1) Complete an organizational audit where you list every single employee in the company or in your department.

2) Determine what roles you need filled and what projects you need completed. Do you have enough staff or do you need to hire? If you need to hire, consider exactly what the new employee will be doing and hire accordingly.

3) If you have all the staff necessary, review their existing job descriptions, the tasks that they are already responsible for, the skills that they have, and the tasks that they enjoy doing.

4) Choose the best employee for each role based off of the above characteristics. If you are giving someone responsibilities beyond their job description, be careful not to take away another employee’s responsibilities without explaining why you are doing so.

5) Clearly communicate to every employee what needs to be done and who within the team will be handling it.

Once you’ve followed these steps, stick to your decisions. Changing responsibilities in the middle of a project may leave employees frustrated, overwhelmed, and angry with both you and their co-workers.

When you clearly define each employee’s roles and responsibilities, you create a harmonious environment where your team can work together as one. When they work together, rock star results are just around the corner.

“We do great work together and we do inspire each other, and I think we have a very good sense of how much further we can go in the company of each other than just on our own.” — Adam Clayton, U2

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars.