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March 15, 2016

What's the Secret of a Happy Team?

Keith Jackson


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It's a manager's dream to work with a happy, engaged and motivated team. But happiness is so subjective, and people's motivations are so varied, that building a happy team is more down to luck than design, right?

And even if you do your best to create a positive environment, you can't control outside issues that people may bring into the workplace that impact their morale and productivity.

There is a wealth of advice available on how to build a happy team, and we have numerous resources devoted to the issue, which you can explore here. But we were sure that you had your own proven strategies, too. So, we asked our friends and readers on social media, "What are your top tips for building a happy, engaged team?"

Here is a selection of the many responses we received:

Communication and respect were prominent themes on Twitter. Elaine Roy ‏(@toonellie) said, "Listen to their input and let them put ideas into practice." Online workshop facilitator SyncSkills (@SyncSk) said, "Communication is definitely key for us." Czech Republic-based @op_aleksandru added, "Promote a culture of mutual respect."

Facebook user Pawel Urbanski, from Warsaw, Poland, gave the question a lot of thought, and wrote a detailed response. He said, "Speaking from experience, I'd tell the team what needs to be done, by when, and what are the resources at hand. And then step away and let them solve the problem. There is nothing more motivating than feeling that you got the proverbial green light to do your best.

"Keep the rules simple. Let people know what they are hired to do, and treat team members equally well.

"Try to show some perspective and set expectations. Even if you deal with fires popping up from time to time, you can also set expectations for that, such as not blaming employees for turning up at work a little late because they had to deal with an unexpected situation."

The question prompted an enormous amount of discussion on LinkedIn. Here's what was said:

  • Aref Atia: "Effective, regular feedback in both directions & magic words."

  • Dr. Ir. Gwendolyn Kolfschoten: "Take time to line up personal goals with group goals."

  • Cholena Orr: "Alignment of company purpose and employee purpose."

  • David Therond: "Empowerment by active delegation, with regular monitoring activities, timely and constructive feedback. All with respect to the results they are expected to obtain."

  • Nita Sexton: "Have the whole team involved in determining the long term strategy for the department. It invests them in what needs to be accomplished, and may push them beyond the original goals."

  • Benita Bhatia Dua: "Encourage them to find a purpose that blends into the organisational goal. A good starting point is to build trust. When members feel they can be open and honest with each other, they're more likely to admit mistakes and weaknesses and ask for help."

As always, we are grateful to everyone who took the time to respond and joined the discussion online. And you can still be part of the debate by letting us have your comments, below.

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