4 Ways to Build a Team Mentality

RAFT Team, June 26, 2023

It's important to grasp and promote a positive team mentality to have effective collaboration between team members. This outlook not only helps to work productively but also guarantees that everyone contributes to a shared aim.

In this article, we will delve into strategies to enhance your team's communication skills, crucial for building strong small teams. We'll explore how you can harness technology for better coordination and sharing of big ideas.

We will also discuss how to foster bonds within the team, because teamwork makes everything possible. And we'll include how to encourage open dialogue, as it promotes transparency and mutual respect among colleagues.

1. Establish Clear Communication Policies

Effective communication is key to building a strong team mentality within your organization. Clear communication guidelines guarantee that all stakeholders — from board members to domestic violence advocates to community partners — stay informed of recent progress and have easy access to data when necessary.

Consistently enforce these policies across all levels of your organization to create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued, building unity and understanding among team members.

Ways to Establish Clear Communication Policies

  • Create specific channels: Not every piece of information needs to be shared with everyone at once. Create channels for various types of communications to help keep things organized while ensuring relevant parties receive the right information promptly.
  • Promote transparency: Make sure there's no room for hidden agendas or secret conversations behind closed doors by promoting transparency throughout all levels of your organization.
  • Foster inclusivity: Ensure that every member has equal opportunity to voice their opinions or concerns without fear of judgment or retribution - whether they're a seasoned advocate or new recruit.

Consistency is key - any changes made should align with existing structures to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness within teams who are working to build support for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Maintain Open Lines of Communication

Encourage regular check-ins among staff members to address any issues before they escalate into bigger problems. This type of team mentality goes a long way towards preventing burnout and building resilience against compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.

2. Take Advantage of Technology

Technology has become an indispensable tool for communicating and collaborating with team members. For advocates working on domestic violence and sexual violence cases, collaboration is an effective way to build resilience against compassion fatigue and prevent burnout.

Technology provides us with many tools that can help lead teams more effectively. From video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, to instant messaging apps like Slack, these resources enable real-time communication among both small teams and larger groups.

Digital Meetings: The New Normal

The rise of remote work has made virtual meetings the new normal for many organizations. These online gatherings allow team members from different locations to connect, share big ideas, discuss challenges, and work towards a common purpose without geographical constraints.

To make these meetings productive and help build a stronger team mentality:

  • Schedule them well in advance so everyone can prepare accordingly.
  • Create an agenda outlining what you will discuss during the meeting.
  • Promote active participation by encouraging all attendees to contribute their thoughts and opinions.

Leverage Online Collaboration Tools

Sometimes you can't all meet together at the same time, especially if you deal with shift workers. The janitorial staff may have input but only work in the evenings. Community partners may work full-time jobs but want to collaborate on certain projects. Platforms like Google Workspace offer features such as shared calendars and document editing capabilities where multiple users can view, edit, and comment simultaneously, fostering true teamwork spirit even when physically apart. This form of transparency ensures everyone stays informed about project updates and promotes a sense of unity within the team.

Use Messaging Apps to Keep Conversations Going

Messaging apps provide an informal platform for quick queries or discussions that don't require formal emails or calls. This helps keep conversations going throughout the day without disrupting workflow too much. For example, Slack offers features like group chats based on projects or topics, ensuring relevant discussions are grouped together, making it easy for anyone joining later to catch up quickly.

Be sure to establish expectations and boundaries on how quickly you'll be able to respond.

3. Foster Team Building Experiences

Building a resilient team in challenging work environments, like those encountered by domestic violence and sexual violence advocates, requires more than just effective collaboration and communication skills. Regular team bonding activities can aid in better teamwork as well.

Research shows that teams that bond regularly are more likely to work effectively towards their common purpose, even when faced with stressful situations. This is particularly important for small teams like ours at RAFT, where every member's contribution significantly affects our overall success.

Set Common Objectives

Set clear, achievable objectives that align with the overall mission of your organization. These should be big ideas that inspire every member of the team, no matter their shift timings or locations. Everyone needs to understand what they are working for and how their individual contributions will help achieve these targets. Regular updates about progress towards the set objectives can keep everyone motivated and involved.

Prioritize Recognition and Celebration

Acknowledging small wins along the way is an excellent motivator for team members who may feel isolated because of different shifts or remote work arrangements. Celebrate milestones no matter how small; remember that each achievement brings you one step closer to your common purpose.

Promote Interdependence

In order for teams to work effectively despite physical separation, promoting interdependence is key. Encourage individuals within small teams across various shifts to rely on each other's expertise while completing tasks related to larger projects. This not only improves efficiency but also strengthens bonds between teammates who might not otherwise have much interaction.

Create Learning Opportunities

An environment conducive to learning can promote teamwork. Regularly organize workshops or training sessions on relevant topics so you can build collective knowledge while providing opportunities for interaction outside usual work parameters. This continuing education empowers individuals and contributes positively towards achieving your organizational goals.

Team bonding isn't just about having fun together, although that certainly helps. Encouraging a positive atmosphere where everyone feels safe to express their ideas without hesitation is key to creating an effective team. We all know the cliché is true: "teamwork makes the dream work."

4. Encourage Open Dialogue

In the world of advocacy, especially for domestic and sexual violence survivors, fostering an open dialogue within your team is crucial. It's not just about exchanging ideas or giving feedback; it's also about creating a safe space where everyone feels valued and heard.

Open dialogue helps to build trust among team members, encourages collaboration, and creates a sense of unity. This can significantly improve the overall team mentality, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Create a Safe Space for Sharing

Creating a safe and non-judgmental environment for team members to freely express their ideas can be beneficial in fostering productive dialogue. You could do this through regular meetings dedicated solely to discussion and brainstorming.

You might use tools like anonymous suggestion boxes or online forums that allow people to share their thoughts privately if they prefer. Ensure that you consider all perspectives by creating a safe and inclusive environment.

Promote Active Listening

Active listening plays an essential role in promoting open dialogue within teams. It involves fully focusing on the speaker, understanding their message, responding thoughtfully, and then remembering what they said.

Active listening techniques, such as summarizing what you've heard or asking clarifying questions, can show your colleagues that you value their input while encouraging further conversation. This is just one tool in building peer leadership.

Build Trust Through Transparency

To create an environment conducive to open communication, it requires building trust amongst each other - this comes from transparency at all levels of management. When leaders are transparent about decision-making processes or changes happening within the organization, it reassures employees that they're being kept in the loop rather than left out in the dark, which ultimately builds confidence & promotes openness across the board.

When management openly shares information about decisions made or challenges faced, it encourages others to do the same. This strengthens bonds and ensures everyone feels valued and heard.

Encourage Constructive Feedback

Last but not least, encourage constructive criticism. It's important to establish rules that ensure the feedback given is helpful, specific, and kind. This helps conversations to remain respectful even when discussing areas of improvement.

All these steps contribute towards cultivating an atmosphere in which everyone feels free to express themselves openly and honestly. Which enhances your overall effectiveness and ensures you continue to provide the best support to those dealing with trauma resulting from domestic and sexual violence. 

A strong team mentality is the foundation for success in any advocacy effort!