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Employees on effective teams are likely to be optimally engaged. But how do you make sure the teams are as effective as they can be? Here are three ways.

Build trust on a team

The best way to build trust is to talk openly with employees and encourage them to talk openly with each other. Are teams not meeting their goals? Has team performance fallen below previous levels? Don’t make a move without asking your employees a simple question: “Why is it happening?” The answers may surprise you. Perspectives vary. It could be that upper management sees a goal problem as a training issue. Employees may see it as malfunctioning software.

This can be as simple as soliciting answers anonymously in a physical box, or as complex as team meetings that are conducted as round robins. But never blame or assume you know why an issue is happening. Feedback has to be gained.

Encourage communication

While building trust can be based on specific activities, it won’t happen without steady encouragement to communicate openly and honestly. Have an open-door policy. Have a system set up so people feel free to ask questions about anything. Vacation policy, hiring requirements, you name it.

It’s a good idea to have frequent meetings between teams and managers, so people are used to communication occurring. Informal get-togethers between teams and managers, such as picnics or softball games, will also facilitate communication. Issues can surface in an informal setting that would never come up in a formal one.

Increase Collaboration

The team that collaborates together…functions as a team. Collaboration is one of the defining characteristics of a team. So when new processes or systems need to be developed, involve the team in a specific collaborative efforts. Assign specific tasks to specific team members. Follow up to make sure that collaboration is actually happening. Are there any roadblocks? If so, trouble shoot them.

Informal methods also work here. Do you have an annual holiday event? Solicit collaborative ideas for what it should be and how to organize it. That sends a message that collaboration should be integral to your firm.

Need some advice on how to build a team? We can suggest methods and strategies.