The key to successful teamwork in your remote team
Written by: Hrishikesh Pardeshi, Founder at Flexiple, buildd & Remote Tools.
Last updated: Jan 19, 2023
What is teamwork and why does your team need it? Google's dictionary says it is the combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient. Michael Jordan puts it in a beautiful manner. He says, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." This quote, coming from a guy who is among the G.O.A.Ts in the game, has a lot of weight in it.
How important is the teamwork your team puts in? The answer to that is very. Or you can actually say most. When collaborating with your team, there will surely be some problems. Your team's teamwork is the thing that makes or breaks your deal. And for this very reason, you need to have a team that is at the top of its game at all times. There are many ways you can achieve this, thankfully. How do you do it? How does your team get at the best of its performing ability? There are quite a few tried and tested ways to get there, actually. We have elaborated on them below.
Keys to get your remote team at the top of its teamwork game:
Let us think of it from the individual level and then at the big team level. So below we will walk you through how you can make some easy changes and structure your team for effective teamwork, starting right from making a new member a part of your team. Regardless of if your team is remote or co-located, these apply equally to all. We have however listed below tools that are meant to make teamwork more fruitful for remote teams.
1. Hire right
This is the start. Your key to a great team and subsequently teamwork begins right from the hiring process itself. Team oriented hires are vital to your aim of teamwork. Know what your team needs and hire to match it. In their onboarding steps, too, make sure you instill the values of your team into them. You can read more about how to harness a team oriented mindset in this blog.
2. Make each person's role clear to them
Tell your new hire what the purpose of their work is and how they are expected to go about with it. There should be nothing left untold to them. This clarity is needed so that the person is allowed to think of how they want to adjust. Encourage your team members to keep teamwork in mind with every action they take.
3. Divide the work in your team for better teamwork
Every individual in your team is bound to have different strengths. You can not make two people work on the same thing and give the exact same results. Even if they are both great at it, there should be ways that the work compliments each other. Healthy competition is good, too. Keep this in mind when splitting work in your team. You might have to do a bit of trial and error to get each person at the top of their game, but an initial analysis of strengths and weaknesses can help in this.
4. Make your expectations clear
Your team should know how much their role matters. As a leader, you should be confident that your employees all know what their goal is, and that of the team. If the person is to finish a certain set of tasks by the end of the day, make sure they know it. Set doable goals. Also help them with it in case there is any discrepancy. We have written more about relationship vs task oriented leadership in this blog.
5. Track the work done by your team
For good teamwork, it is important to keep a track of the work done by your team. In a remote setting, this might often be the only way to know how the work is progressing for each member. It's a good idea in a co-located setting, too. Do note that you do not need to track every single thing that is done by your team, though. Find more on how tracking metrics can be a double edged sword here.
6. Encourage your team to share the things they have learnt for better teamwork
Indeed, knowledge sharing is an equally vital entity in a team. Tell your members to share the new things they learn. Alternately, make slots for just this. Get the senior employees to give advice to the juniors. Also get everyone to come up with ideas on points that might be lacking. Share these with everyone, let everyone share their thoughts and discuss these.
7. Make use of tools
Use tools to get the most out of what you put in. There are tools for every thing (well, almost). And you just have to find them and make use of them in the correct way. We can not stress enough on how important it is to stay up to date with the latest tools that are available. Try them out for your various uses and accordingly settle on a tool stack. Along the same lines, don't be so stuck on one set of tools that you are closed off to others.
8. Communicate with the team
There is no way to meet your teamwork goal if you do not communicate with your team. Over communicate, but do make sure you have nothing left for guessing. Use one place to document the major bits of team communication. Every new rule should be found in one place. Share the ideas that come to your mind with the team and make your team members do the same, too. Leave no stone left unturned as far as communication goes.
9. Reward and validate the teamwork efforts put in by your team
How they feel about the work will have a direct impact on the interest an employee displays toward the work. And validation is important to make them feel like the work put in is worth it. Reward your hires for the work they do. Tell about it to the team. For example, if a member of your team does work with results that reflect in numbers, then show that to your team. Also make sure to avoid favoritism in this case.
10. Get and give feedback
Your team members are aloof to the impact of their work or its style, be it on the team or on the other members. Unless you tell them, that is. Feedback is prime when it comes to the teamwork put in by your team. If they are left in the dark, they will not know where they should get better. Tell this to the team. Also give them points on where they should improve. Similarly, be open minded and ask them to give honest feedback, too.
11. Be transparent
Make the processes that are followed at every level known to every other level. Although this might sound bizarre, being clear with what is going on in the team is valued by the members of your team. You can't plan to have a new hire and not let your other members know that someone will be joining them soon. Every sale that your team was a part of, let them know how it went through and if and why it did not. This clarity is surely going to benefit the members of your team and make them keep teamwork in mind.
12. Have informal team celebrations to bring about the spirit of teamwork
Lastly, this is critical to having your team members know that they are a part of the team. Go out with the team once a while. Ask them to go out by themselves. Organize games and other team building activities to harbor the spirit of teamwork in your team. It does not have to be big or expensive, even a simple hour of having fun together makes your team work toward the goal with a unified mindset, so learn to make use of that.