Common sense tells us that happy, collaborative teams are productive teams.
Research backs it up, too.
But when leaders or managers utter the words “team-building,” most people want to run for the nearest exit. Visions of cheesy bonding exercises and trust-building games can induce a collective bout of nausea.
Twelve years after launching JotForm, I’ve learned to take a different approach.
Instead of worrying about how to optimize our teams, I want to nurture them.
What do they need in order to thrive?
How can we help them to grow?
In essence, I think of our multi-functional teams as living, breathing beings.
Yes, they are a collection of diverse and talented individuals. But at their best, they also operate like a single body. And just like plants, animals and people, teams have several basic needs.
Some team-building exercises can be useful but they won’t make your team more productive unless you nurture these five basics:
Developers often joke about running on pizza and coffee, but creative teams ultimately need exciting problems to solve.
They need a reason to stretch and strive for innovation. That’s their fuel.
In a Harvard Business Review article about leading creative employees, authors Richard Florida and Jim Goodnight explain that …
“… creative people work for the love of a challenge. They crave the feeling of accomplishment that comes from cracking a riddle, be it technological, artistic, social, or logistical. They want to do good work.”
They also cite a major Information Week survey that showed “challenging work” ranks considerably higher than even “salary” and other financial rewards as people’s top source of on-the-job motivation.
Your teams are eager to flex their creative and strategic muscles. Feed them tough…