Create a Work Culture That Facilitates Teamwork, Team Spirit
Stephen Tharrett and James A. Peterson
Strategic actionsThe first step to create teamwork is to establish a mission, vision and values that serve as the heart and soul of the organization. Other steps that can help foster a team-oriented environment within your fitness center include the following:
Flatten the organization. Organizations have a practice of creating titles and positions of authority. While this approach might seem good at first, it ends up creating an environment where employees measure their worth not in a shared sense of purpose, but by a title.
Avoid hoarding important information. Power comes from having something someone else does not. In business, having information that others don't can result in an environment that is counterproductive to teamwork. This does not mean that facility managers must share confidential information; it does mean that any information that would drive the performance of the organization should be made available to everyone.
Cross-train everyone. One of the pitfalls to a team environment is the evolution of the specialist (e.g., group exercise instructor, personal trainer, front desk staff). While employees can have a specialty, they must also be cross-educated so that they can also perform other roles, when necessary, and they understand how difficult other jobs can be.
No prima donnas allowed. Prima donnas can compromise every effort to create a teamwork-oriented environment. Prima donnas feel they deserve special attention, often because of a special skill or talent they possess. In most cases, prima donnas don't start that way; the organization creates them.
Pass the trophy. In their book, Walk the Talk, Eric Harvey and Alexander Lucia say, "Let everyone hold the trophy." This phrase refers to the fact that success must be a team celebration. In other words, success is not about MVPs (most valuable player); it's about TEAM (together everyone achieves more). As such, "Praise loudly and blame softly," say Harvey and Lucia.
No finger pointing. Finger pointing refers to a strategy of blaming someone else for organizational mistakes. Normally, when a mistake occurs or a goal is missed, it's a multilevel issue, not an individual one. When facility managers allow fingers to be pointed, it sends a message that if employees take a risk and fail, the organization will make sure everyone knows about it. Instead, focus on solutions that everyone needs to take part in.
Encourage connections. Encourage employees to establish trusting relationships with other employees. Fostering relationships requires that an organization provide opportunities for employees to connect socially, without the burdens of professional responsibilities.
Eliminate politics. Office politics are the enemy of teamwork. Politics represent behavior designed to gain power and exhibit control. Politics are based on who a person knows and who an individual owes versus what and how a person contributes. Organizations can create a non-political environment when they measure individual and team performance through results that are based on the fulfillment of the organization's mission and achievement of business goals.
Don't be judgmental. Teams are successful when no one is judged as an individual, but, rather, as part of a team. Human tendency is to pre-judge people, and treat people according to how they perceive them. The only judgments a team should make are those that pertain to the performance of the team itself, and how all the parts of the team mesh.
Accept apologies and offer forgiveness. The hallmark of a teamwork-oriented environment is when employees are willing to apologize for their own mistakes and forgive others. Great relationships are rooted in the ability to apologize, forgive and move on.
Be nimble, be quick. Your fitness center should be able to adapt and change quickly, when needed. To be nimble and quick requires individual humility, an open frame of mind and a willingness to take risks. A team can only be nimble and quick when everyone is prepared to adapt and change, and to take responsibility for changing.
Challenge and changeFostering a work culture that facilitates teamwork and team spirit is a significant challenge. Fitness managers can start by hiring the right people, who can become teamwork-oriented. It is this process of creating a teamwork environment that can ultimately determine the level of greatness a team can achieve.
Facility of the Week
Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center