What comes first? A strong team culture or a high-performing team? When you look at high-performing teams, you will find a strong team culture backing them up.
When you create a team culture that encourages collective growth and development through positive reinforcement, you have a high-functioning, self-sufficient, responsible unit that delivers timely results and excels across other parameters.
A strong team culture positively impacts your team’s core members and management. A Gallup survey states that 70% of the variance in employee engagement is directly proportional to the kind of environment a manager can foster.
Conversely, 46% of leaders state that team culture influences improvements in critical areas such as productivity, retention, and engagement.
Do teams across your company boast a strong team culture? Or are there gaps you can fill in? Let’s look at what a strong team culture means, how it is pivotal in improving performance, and how to implement it within a team’s framework.
What is Team Culture?
Team culture consolidates your team members’ values, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. It encompasses almost everything—from their strategies to achieve a common goal to how they treat each other.
A team’s culture is similar to any other societal culture—its members act as its pillars.
But remember that culture, and by extension, team culture, is difficult to grasp, given its abstract nature. It has many variants, even within a singular company.
A strong and healthy team culture is one where team members support one another, engage in non-incentive-driven knowledge sharing, and sincerely work towards a unified goal, achieving excellence in the process.
On the other hand, when companies can’t create an organically positive environment, management often tries to impose strict rules and regulations on employees. This breeds toxicity and misunderstandings and doesn’t allow team members to flourish autonomously.
Thus, creating strong and positive team cultures should be one of the central roles of a team leader. Here’s how a strong team culture helps.
Benefits and Advantages of Having a Strong Team Culture
Apart from the benefits above, having a high-performing team culture will have many advantages. Let’s jump into them as well:
When team members feel camaraderie and support, they are more motivated to work as a team and contribute their best efforts. When everyone’s on the same page and goals are crystal clear, it cuts down on misunderstandings and makes the workflow smoother.
Trust and mutual respect within the team create an excellent working vibe, reducing conflicts and distractions.
A desired team culture makes everyone feel accountable and responsible, pushing team members to meet deadlines and deliver top-notch work.
Enhanced health and well-being:
A positive team culture can boost health and well-being in several ways. When team members feel supported and valued, it reduces stress levels. Open communication helps us feel connected, reducing loneliness and boosting our mental well-being.
Collaborative environments also promote a healthy work-life balance, reducing the risk of burnout.
Accelerated customer satisfaction and retention:
When your employees are part of a healthy work culture and are happy within their workplaces, it reflects on the products they make and the services they provide.
And when your customers get positive experiences, it inevitably boosts your overall brand value, loyalty, and sales. Make every employee-customer interaction a delightful experience with employees who are part of a strong team culture.
Room for more creative opportunities:
With a motivated workforce where every member inspires one another, there will be more opportunities for creativity. Get your team on the same page with tools like ClickUp. Collaborate easily on a shared whiteboard and spark those brainstorming sessions!
Drop comments on ClickUp Docs for seamless collaboration. Boost productivity, streamline your workflow, and fuel creative ideas.
When emphasis is placed on effective communication rather than a rigid hierarchy, it means that information flows more freely across all levels of the organization. This approach breaks down silos that can form when communication is restricted based on organizational levels.
As a result, there’s a more transparent and open exchange of ideas and information between management, employees, and customers. This fosters a collaborative environment, ensuring everyone is on the same page and contributing to the overall success of the team or organization.
Let your recruits get a taste of the vibrant and promising team culture waiting for them in your organization by letting them interact with current employees. With a strong team culture, conversations will flow organically and help you scout out talents looking for opportunities to grow and excel in their fields.
When you send a clear message regarding what your company stands for, what the day-to-day life at your workplace is like, and what values your organization upholds, the onboarding process gains much-needed clarity.
Make your culture implicit in your message so your recruits know what’s in store.
Another valuable aspect includes conducting group discussions with your new team members to share their ideas regarding what constitutes team culture. This involves not just sharing your team culture but understanding and adopting positive aspects from these discussions.
Increased employee retention:
In a great team culture, everyone feels valued and appreciated for what they bring to the table, making the work environment positive and encouraging. This leads to higher job satisfaction and a stronger connection to the workplace.
A positive workplace environment keeps your prized talent from jumping ship and switching to at the first sign of higher pay. Team culture plays a significant role in defining that, allowing employees to grow in areas apart from their careers. Inspiring your team with goals that transcend corporate boundaries is a surefire way of ensuring retention and stability.
Examples of a Strong Winning Team Culture
You know what an effective team culture can bring to you, but how do you identify what a strong and great team culture is or constitutes? Let us delve into some examples to understand the same:
Manage your team members in a way that allows participation and keeps them at the center of the conversation. Make your expectations clear to your team. Demand support and constructive criticism and encourage open feedback amongst your team.
Help your team develop the following traits to achieve a humanistic culture:
- Demonstrate empathy for the needs of others
- Provide support and encouragement
- Resolve conflicts constructively
- Adopt a consultative, collaborative approach
As a team leader, you should contribute in the following ways:
- Prioritize the growth and continuous development of the team
- Cultivate active listening skills
- Invest time in individuals
- Encourage independent thinking in others
A team that asks for input from every member before a project begins and seeks employee feedback on each other openly and positively comes under the humanistic team culture.
Affiliative culture prioritizes constructive interpersonal relationships and fosters friendliness and sensitivity toward team members among your colleagues.
In a team with an affiliative culture, colleagues help each other with official problems and show consideration for personal issues. Team members check in regarding their mental and physical well-being and keep tabs on each other to ensure they have a perfect mindset and space to keep working.
Let’s see how you can promote an affiliative team culture:
- Go for a balanced approach: Skillfully offer feedback as an affiliative leader, blending praise for commendable performance with constructive criticism to inspire ongoing improvement. This well-balanced approach fosters team growth and contributes to advancing the company’s mission
- Track KPIs: Prioritize team building and employee well-being as an affiliative leader while ensuring consistent productivity to uphold workplace performance. Monitor individual performance to identify issues, pinpoint areas for improvement, and implement effective strategies—essential components of effective leadership
- Flexibility is key: Empower your team by granting creative freedom and flexibility. Encourage employees to leverage their imagination to overcome workplace challenges, fostering a positive culture where mutual trust thrives
Oppositional culture can be productive in moderation alongside a different, more positive team culture. Team members are encouraged to be critical of one another’s ideas and suggestions for better results.
Teams following this culture will have members submitting anonymous reports regarding other team members, mainly containing negative aspects that they can work towards and improve in the long run.
While a win-win framework provides a positive outlook, fostering a competitive, win-lose culture can be beneficial. It incentivizes team members to perform better than each other. But do take care to maintain a healthy and not cut-throat competition.
For example, you can incentivize sales team reps on their monthly performance. The best salesperson can also be asked to train others on tips and tricks. This boosts overall employee morale and helps your team grow.
Self-actualization culture values creativity, quality, task accomplishment, and individual growth. You have to encourage your employees to gain enjoyment from their work, make it a passion, and develop themselves. This allows them to think outside the box and take on new, exciting challenges.
In a self-actualization culture setting, every team member will have free reign on how they wish to work on or contribute to a project. The office space will be less formal and should usually consist of recreational areas where colleagues can brainstorm while engaging in refreshing activities.
Elements of a Good Team Culture
It’s time to understand the crucial core elements in creating a dynamic team culture. Your team needs to satisfy the following criteria to be considered as a projector of good team culture:
1. Physiological safety:
Ensure your team members feel safe expressing themselves and feel there are no hurdles when speaking up. They should feel safe when asking questions, speaking up about experiences with other employees, or making mistakes.
2. Mutual respect:
Earn respect by demonstrating it to others. Respect can manifest in various ways, with exemplary workplaces consistently acknowledging employees’ contributions, valuing their input, and recognizing them as individuals with lives beyond the workplace.
3. Autonomy and independence:
Nurture a culture of autonomy and trust to instill a sense of independence among employees. In an autonomous environment, everyone is urged to voice their opinions, think and make decisions independently, and take initiative.
Fostering mutual trust between you and your team contributes to a positive, enjoyable, and less toxic workplace culture.
4. A greater purpose:
Driving employee engagement involves serving a greater prosocial purpose. This can come in humanitarian goals, sustainable development goals, environmental or ethical goals, and much more.
Giving your team a greater sense of fulfillment through working in your company is one of the best ways to encourage, retain, and develop your current team.
5. Common goals:
Unification is one of the greatest assets you can deploy to build a good team culture. Having shared goals to work towards allows your employees to reconcile their differences and come together as a team.
6. Unhindered communication:
Communication silos in many companies are often congested with needless jargon and unnecessary hierarchical structures. They slow down the process of sending and receiving essential messages drastically. Thus, establishing a clear line of communication by deconstructing excess comms silos is a must.
7. Creativity and innovation:
An innovative framework is a crucial element of creating an inclusive team culture. Team members should encourage each other to develop new solutions while frequently brainstorming to figure out ways to handle problems and boost adaptability.
8. Work and play:
Infuse excitement into your company culture by incorporating humor and fun. A rigid and strict workplace doesn’t foster a positive environment where people eagerly come to work and explore new ideas. Encourage your team to unwind and have fun respectfully to ignite inspiration.
Celebrate good-natured humor, promote friendliness, and create a comfortable atmosphere. A relaxed work environment enhances comfort and amplifies creativity, propelling your business to new heights.
How to Build a Strong Team Culture?
Building a robust organizational culture involves integrating the elements above into your team’s day-to-day workings. Let’s take a look at what you can do to help with this assimilation:
1. Foster collaboration across your organization
To build a strong team culture, document your core values as a team charter using a project management system like ClickUp for easy sharing across the organization. ClickUp Docs are editable, allowing updates to include new elements or changes whenever needed.
Define yourself and your organization. What you represent and the message you send forth dictates a significant portion of what your company is all about. This should encompass your company’s personality, values, and core components.
Always try to be as inclusive as you can. Foster core values that can be shared by your team and ask your colleagues to contribute to these values proactively, among other things.
Check out these team charter templates!
2. Make learning and support essential
Irrespective of the type of team culture you are propagating, make sure that learning and support have a space among the core tenets of your overarching organizational culture.
Let your employees grow independently and collectively to support each other and help the company scale up. Provide training opportunities and wiki-like knowledge bases, and encourage knowledge sharing not just among teams but across departments to foster an environment of learning and mutual support.
Having an all-rounder tool like ClickUp can make your job much easier. Use ClickUp Docs as a common, shared database for newbies and veterans. Make the knowledge transfer process easier by defining the transfer lines using ClickUp Project Hierarchy.
3. Give recognition to achievements
Praise those who do well in your company. This boosts employee morale and encourages them to work harder. But to do so, you must also monitor your team’s KPIs.
Once again, ClickUp can assist here as it has highly customizable templates with custom fields that allow you to keep track of the work that every member is engaging with.
It can also create substantial and detailed ClickUp Reports that inform you regarding the work done and by whom during a sprint.
Be sure to appropriately reward exceptional performances with adequate recognition to foster a competitive culture that encourages a healthy tussle amongst teammates.
4. Establish clear communication channels
Define a clear workflow for your team. Use ClickUp’s highly customizable and shared workflows to keep your team on track. They come with multiple views like Kanban Cards and Space view, allowing team members to share updates seamlessly.
Plus, encourage team members to share feedback without hesitation. Leverage ClickUp again to help document feedback using Kanban Cards, Doc comments, and shared whiteboards.
The Docs feature lets you see when someone else is editing or adding points to a project in real time. The real-time ClickUp Chat feature is just the cherry on top, which helps your team collaborate, communicate, and brainstorm on multiple projects irrespective of your scale and scope.
Building a Positive and Strong Team Culture with ClickUp
Team culture is that abstract factor that is often overlooked yet becomes a central aspect that dictates team performance and, in turn, defines your company’s success. Thus, managing it properly and with the proper tools becomes a task of utmost priority.
You have seen what it is, what it constitutes, and how beneficial it can be. Now is the time to employ the necessary tools and start your journey to constructing a lasting team culture.
ClickUp is an excellent communication and collaboration tool that can help you every step of the way when constructing team culture. The features we listed are a drop in the ocean of advantages that ClickUp can supply.
Expect increased collaboration and cooperation across multiple teams and departments through shared and unified Whiteboards. Increase accountability and resource allocation clarity using ClickUp Tasks that let you know who is responsible for what.
Still trying to figure out what to work with? Integrate ClickUp into all your systems and witness the power of seamless and unobstructed communication among teams and departments. Sign up to ClickUp for free today!