There’s no doubt that there is great importance and many benefits to being part of a team. However, to maintain a strong team, you have to have a positive team culture. What is team culture? Team culture is created through the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors shared by all team members. For example, on a gymnastics team, it’s safe to say that all members would share a love of the sport, have a positive attitude towards their training and competitions, and would all help each other work towards their goals.
Team culture is important for several reasons. Having a good team culture can drastically increase motivation in individual team members. It creates a sense of unity and pride that can only be felt when part of a solid team. It drives team members to work harder, push further, and truly strive to be the best team they can be. Creating a safe and comfortable team environment allows team members to share their ideas and different perspectives. This allows them to offer different ideas when brainstorming, giving the team as many options as possible when problem-solving. This means problems get solved efficiently and effectively!
There’s a big difference between being part of a group of people and being part of a team. A team supports its members and encourages the members to support each other. Especially when looking at teams from an athletic perspective. Dance and gymnastics both require extreme mental strength as well as physical strength. When your team members feel supported, it makes the mental aspect of the sport easier. Having a strong bond between team members allows them to feel secure and confident. Confidence is crucial to a high-performing team!
So, now that we’ve discussed why team culture is so important, here are three ways you can improve your team culture:
1. Get to Know your Team Members
This may seem like a no-brainer. However, it may be the most important aspect of creating a top-notch team culture. When starting with a new team, this may be something as simple as “get to know you” games, where team members share fun stories about themselves to help other team members get a better sense of who they are. This allows coaches or team leaders to find members’ strengths, weaknesses, and problem areas that need to be worked on as a team. Further down the line, this could be celebrating birthdays and holidays together. Small parties and celebrations can go a long way in creating a close-knit team. This makes team members look forward to celebrations and motivates them to work harder towards a mutual goal.
2. Promote Learning
Nobody likes to make mistakes. However, in a team setting, it’s bound to happen. What’s most important is how you recover from them as a team. Encourage individual team members to work on their weaknesses or work on them as a team if multiple members are struggling with the same issue. It’s important to not let the team get too discouraged when things don’t go the way they hoped. Instead, learn from the mistakes that are made as a team and train more on the specific problems. Fixing problems as a team allows all members to strengthen their abilities, making the team stronger as a whole. This also leaves less room for the possibility of lowering team morale.
3. Assign Serious Team Goals
It’s difficult to have a motivated team without finite goals. What is your team working towards? What motivates them? What does completing the end goal mean to them? These are all useful conversations to have as a team. Listen to what each team member has to say, as they can all bring different viewpoints. Having these team conversations is crucial to leading a strong and productive team. Once you (as a team) decide on your finite goals, enforce them as a team leader. Constantly remind your team of their goals. Put specific things in place to ensure that with hard work, your team is capable of meeting their goals.
Of course, there are many other things you can do as a team leader to improve team culture. However, if you’re just starting as a team leader, this is a good place to start. Remember to listen to your team members and provide them with an environment that encourages them to be their best. Encourage team members to support each other and celebrate even the small things. Every team’s culture is unique, so make it your own! Just keep these things in mind when trying to improve your team’s culture.