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Want To Build Community Within Your Team? Try These 16 Actionable Steps

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As a leader, it’s important to help employees feel as though they’re a part of a community. While objectives should certainly still be accomplished, this doesn’t mean that fun activities and team bonding can’t happen along the way.

The closer employees feel to one another and to higher-ups, the more trust that exists on a team, which will ultimately lead to a more successful company. Here, 16 Forbes Business Council members share tips for building that sense of community, from solving problems together to celebrating accomplishments.

1. Engage Employees In Activities Outside Of Work

Engaging team members in a common, meaningful purpose outside of their paid work together is likely to increase overall job satisfaction and collegiality. Team members should feel that their choice has been a result of a spirited group discussion and a choice of the team, rather than the team leader or C-suite executives. The choice will be best if focus on impact and the results are clear. – Charles Bresler, The Life You Can Save

2. Share Opinions Without Judgment

Managers often think they need to have all the answers but those who recognize the value of seeking and giving feedback nurture a team that learns and grows together, creating strong connections and trust. An effective manager creates an environment for people to thrive by ensuring it is psychologically safe, meaning people feel comfortable voicing their opinions without fear of being judged. – Marian Evans, Elevate BC Ltd


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3. Ask Questions And Share Praise

We start our weekly all-hands meeting with a great get-to-know-you question so we hear from every team member. We’ve asked questions like, “Tell us about something mischievous you’ve done as a child.” and “Describe your perfect day from sun up until bedtime.” We’ve learned a lot of really great things about each other. We also have a kudos channel in our Slack to throw out kudos to one another. – Carolyn Lowe, ROI Swift

4. Enjoy A Meal Together

There are a few things that bring people together regardless of context. For example, food and actually caring about someone as a person. While Covid and virtual work can make this harder, taking the time to have a meal and actually talk about life instead of just work can go a long way toward building a greater sense of community. Remember why you are all there and focus on what brings you all together: your similarities. – Brad Elson, DeMayo Law Offices

5. Host ‘Lunch And Learn’ Sessions

Hold a “Lunch and Learn” session where you can sit down with your team, offer a cone of silence and listen to what your team has to say. Listening is a key point to building a relationship with your team and acting on their feedback will help you build that much of a stronger team. – Bryan Jakovcic, Fusion Health

6. Gamify Their Objectives

Everyone loves to be on a winning team. When we can quantify targets and tie them to a rewards system, then the team is working toward a common goal with a clear reward, rather than functioning as independent contractors solely focused on tasks. Yearly goals become quarterly targets, quarterly targets become monthly benchmarks and monthly benchmarks become weekly wins. Focus the team. – Cody Jefferson, Embrace The Lion

7. Ask For Feedback

The best leaders are the best followers. How are you creating opportunities to shine a light on the individual and the collective strengths of your team? Asking for direct feedback from your teams in a group setting models courageous communication and transparency. This is the foundation of trust that creates peer accountability and infuses the team with psychological safety, the best environment for thriving! – Susan Leger Ferraro, Peace, Love, Happiness Real Estate

8. Have A ‘Wash-Off’ Session

A wash-off session is when every member says what they do or don’t like about the behavior of a fellow member. Whatever is said in the wash-off session stays in the wash-off session. That way, you give members the opportunity to air grievances and build relationships. – Adam Rudman, Apartments Near Me

9. Value Their Opinions And Ideas

It is important to take the time to be present, ask questions and be curious about people individually and as a team. Ask your team for their advice by inviting them to answer open-ended questions, such as, “What else do you think we can be doing to accomplish our goals?” Be genuinely interested in the opinions and viewpoints of your employees and let them know that each one of them matters to you. – Lisa Caprelli, Unicorn Jazz

10. Solve A Problem Together

Look for ways you can solve a problem with the entire team. It is when the team faces the same issue and each member contributes to the solution where stronger support bonds are created. The manager should be on the lookout for issues that need a team effort and make the entire team responsible for finding solutions. – Beth Worthy, GMR Transcription Services, Inc

11. Find A Shared Purpose

Purpose drives communities. People, even of different persuasions, can come together when there’s a shared purpose. To build a community, present your teams with a challenge. Solving it will create new value. There’s no better way to infuse a sense of belonging than working through a tough problem with others. – Pankaj Srivastava, Practicalspeak

12. Provide Proper Resources And Assistance

Place various people in charge of different projects. Stretch their skills and give them access to resources and assistance to succeed and room and forgiveness to fail. Encourage team assistance to succeed together or fail together, as long as they learn together in name of growth for the organization. – Kevin Coker, Proxima Clinical Research, Inc.

13. Involve Team Members In Decision Making

Your teams need to feel like their point of view is being heard and that they’re supporting the growth and direction of the company. We ensure that all employees have the means to communicate their thoughts and input into company decisions. Empower your teams by making them part of the decision-making process. – Taha Elraaid, Lamah Technologies

14. Lighten Up The Work Environment

Decades of research has shown that when individuals laugh together, they bond together. Laughter relieves stress and can improve the immune system. Also, celebrate more as a team. Our brains are often searching for things that we are doing wrong, and we tend to limit the time we spend feeling good about our own accomplishments. Bring more playfulness and laughter in the work environment. – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5

15. Lead And Manage With Empathy

Lead in a way that their actions match their desire for building community. Words are ineffective and not weighted if actions are omitted in ensuring they create a community that can thrive. A manager can lead a community as a beacon of light, even if their leadership doesn’t, by being an example for valuing others and making room for ideas. Lead and manage with empathy. Community will follow. – Paul L. Gunn, KUOG Corporation

16. Create A Shared Experience

Create a shared purpose or experience by getting involved with charity fundraising or organizations like Habitat for Humanity. As it’s all about creating a shared vision through experience where everyone may be out of their depth. Even something as benign as a team bowling tournament can provide fun and dramatic bonding. – Howard Rosen, LifeWIRE Corp