Confusion and uncertainty surround the efforts to reopen businesses and services in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Change is the order of the day – changes in protocol, physical working space, routines and schedules, expectations. Upheaval is unavoidable. In such a fraught environment, effective teamwork is more important than ever.
Personal interactions have been disrupted by the lockdown and personal distancing, making effective teamwork more complicated. But now that limited personal interaction is beginning to resume, it is important to examine how the elements of teamwork can help to make our interactions more productive and effective. The fundamentals of teamwork – leadership, communication, camaraderie, shared goals – take on new urgency in an all-encompassing crisis that affects every aspect of our personal and professional lives.
Leadership: Guiding and Inspiring in Uncharted Territory
Good leadership is essential in times of change. Old ways of doing things have been overturned as new protocols are implemented, and in many cases, imposed by higher levels of authority. It is important that leaders keep the “big picture” in perspective even as they delegate new duties and meet unprecedented challenges that combine considerations of safety and productivity. More than ever, the team leader will need to reassure, direct, and inspire team members who may be anxious, confused, and demoralized.
Communication: Speaking and Listening Outside of the Box
For the past several weeks, our interaction has come from stacked squares on a screen; we have literally been thinking inside a box. Screen fatigue, technical glitches, home interruptions, and lack of body language hamper even the best attempts to communicate virtually. Communicating in person, even if it’s through a mask can only be an improvement, right? But it may not be so easy to pick up personal communication skills where we left off. Active listening, one of the biggest casualties of virtual meetings, comprises the most important part of communication. A focused effort to reestablish lines of communication will make sure that all team members are heard and valued, that directives are clear and consistent, and conflicts are addressed.
Camaraderie: Coming Together, Staying Distant
Personal interaction, including having fun together, has been put on hold during the lockdown. Team members have been focused not only on work tasks, but on childcare, schooling at home, domestic chores. For many, diversions have been in short supply and confined to the living space. There is an epidemic of cabin fever. Now is the time for teams to explore outings where everyone can have fun while keeping safe. Check out local venues that have established recommended safety protocols, especially where teams can interact: miniature golf, nature treks, scavenger hunts, and other active outings will go far toward reestablishing camaraderie and building morale. Teams might also consider activities that contribute to community needs, such as a food drive or collecting school supplies. Fun outings are essential for building morale, camaraderie, and mutual trust.
Shared Goals: Adapting and Committing
A crisis out of necessity requires a focus on the immediate problem. As members come back together, changes in priorities and procedures are bound to create anxiety and conflict. But successful teams also know to be guided by their values and mission. To navigate a crisis while maintaining the momentum to achieve excellence requires that team members be willing to adapt, work collaboratively, and commit to shared goals. Mutual appreciation of each other’s value to the team is paramount to rebuilding or recharging a high performing team.
This global crisis has made it clear that teamwork is essential not only for success, but even survival. It has been said that good teams don’t just happen, but are made, the result of hard work and commitment. Now is the time to refresh and rebuild the fundamentals that create highly effective teams. Group Dynamix, as one of the premiere team-building companies in the country, is equipped and ready to help you elevate your team to its highest performance.