While a degree of friendly competition among staff members can be healthy, a small business profits most when everyone is working together smoothly as a team. Encouraging your staff to collaborate and focus on a common goal maximizes their effectiveness.
But moving to this mode of working can be an adjustment for both managers and employees. Small business owners and managers are often more comfortable with the "one person/one project" method of defining job functions and distributing responsibilities. A Japanese proverb may help because it captures the essence of teamwork: "None of us is as smart as all of us." Try to remember that individuals working together can produce more and achieve better results than if they worked independently on a project.
For their part, employees who are used to working independently may be concerned that their contributions will be overlooked or that coworkers will be more of a hindrance than a help. To ease any reservations staff members may have, discuss guidelines and goals for working collaboratively. Teamwork doesn't just benefit the organization. It can also make individual jobs more rewarding. Working in teams allows your staff more opportunities to release their creative ideas and offers a greater sense of belonging. (Refer to Getting Your Team's Buy-In for more information.)