Magazine article Supervisory Management

Turning to Teambuilding to Tackle Tough Times

Magazine article Supervisory Management

Turning to Teambuilding to Tackle Tough Times

Article excerpt

When a company does well, both employees and management reap the rewards. But when economic times turn tough, companies seek to contain costs with cutbacks in overhead--in particular, personnel. This leaves supervisors with the tough job of pulling survivors together into a team to maintain productivity.

Toward Teambuilding

Here are ten tips to overcome resistance to teambuilding:

Define mutual needs. Everyone has a vested interest in the success of your organization. However, during a reorganization, individual survival becomes a priority. Determine what each person needs to succeed, then show how working as a member of the team will allow the individual to meet that objective.

Elect a gatekeeper. Teambuilding succeeds when everyone gets involved. However, when morale declines, brainstorming meetings can deteriorate into gripe sessions. Choose one person to guide group meetings toward their goal and keep the team on track. Look for someone who can remain objective and encourage people to participate.

Practicing Real Participation

Promote participation. Employee commitment in the process. Include everyone in the work group. Lure loners into the action by defining the benefits of involvement and the special expertise they bring to the group. Don't overlook part-timers, temporary workers, and independent contractors brought into the organization during downsizing. They represent an important part of the team and may be able to offer a unique perspective on the problem.

Discuss both sides of an issue. Give priority in particular to personnel problems. Take time to listen to employee fears about the future--for example, how he or she is to take on new job duties or learn to operate new equipment. Identify current and anticipated obstacles to individual success, like the need for additional training or information. Discuss management concerns including projected standards for service and output during the transition.

Explore alternatives. Don't discard any idea from a team member. While it may not solve the problem, it may generate other ideas that ultimately lead to a workable solution.

Playing "What If" Games

Identify potential problems. …

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