Want to Revive “Kumbaya” in Your Workplace? Here are 6 Strategies.
When “Kumbaya” was first released in the 1920s, it was a spiritual message of camaraderie and fellowship. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, it made a comeback as the preferred campfire song for Boy Scouts and various summer camps across the U.S.
Today, the true essence of “Kumbaya” is heavily diluted by sarcasm and half-hearted mockery. You may not be roasting s’mores and sharing ghost stories with your team anytime soon, but the original message of teamwork and togetherness can be revived in daily office practices.
The idea is to foster a community among coworkers, so they not only understand their integral role in the team but also recognize the value of their peers.
The top 6 strategies for reviving the feeling of “Kumbaya” in the workplace are simple, yet effective among any team structure.
#1 Open the Lines of Communication
As both a manager and team member, it is important for employees to feel they are not only able to speak openly with their team, but also will be heard.
Setting a precedent from the beginning, where communication is encouraged to be often and open, will form bonds of trust, understanding and respect among team members.
#2 Have Clear Definitions of Goals
- Understand exactly what is expected of them
- As well as the means and timeline for completion
They are more likely to succeed.
- Goals or expectations are unclear or vague
- And are left open for interpretation, meaning what an employee deems acceptable
They are more likely not to be aligned with the manager’s viewpoints.
To avoid variance in expectations, set defined:
- Performance measures.
Once a mutual understanding has been established, the margin for miscommunication and error will shrink.
#3 Have Team Cohesion
Managers must make the effort to ensure each team member feels like a part of a greater whole. Furthermore, each employee should be acknowledged as a unique asset, with something valuable and necessary to contribute.
If an employee feels easily replaceable or like an outlier, their performance and motivation will decline. During the hiring process, hire the right people for the job, not just anyone who can get it done.
Ask the candidate, what makes them special and why they should be hired over candidate X, Y, Z.
#4 Encourage Idea Sharing
Employees want to feel their opinions are valued and considered. Hold regular brainstorming sessions where members of various teams or departments can contribute their two-cents to a problem or challenge outside their realm of responsibility.
Everyone will gain a better understanding of what their co-workers are doing, mutual challenges they may all be facing or better practices to resolve their problems.
The key is to be open to any and all feedback or contributions. Even if an idea offered isn’t necessarily the crème de la crème, don’t shoot it down. Otherwise, you run the risk of discouraging idea sharing in the future.
The power of brainstorming goes beyond idea creation and can act as a tool for creating stronger ties and cohesion between coworkers.
#5 Get Together
There’s a fine line between getting to know your team and infringing on their personal time. Find a happy balance by organizing a lunch outing or afternoon happy hour.
You’ll still be able to discuss business and socialize in a more casual environment, all within the parameters of company hours.
Team bonding, outside the confines of the workplace, will support overall morale and encourage employees to view one another more as “people”, rather than just coworkers.
The benefits of strong personal and professional ties are abundant and will affect the ways in which employees interact and problem solve with one another.
#6 Streamline Communication
With so many options and avenues for communicating including email, text, phone, memo, etc., communication can be hindered, rather than helped.
Settle on a primary platform, so there is no confusion when it comes to when or how a message is communicated, or how another coworker is most easily reachable.
Streamlining communication in regards to reporting and conflict resolution is also highly beneficial. Tension and stress are at its highest when a problem occurs, to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible, employees should know exactly how to react.
If you’re struggling with establishing a feeling of unity among your employees, consider attending the next Managing Operations Workshop, which includes 6 weeks of tailored follow-up mentoring.
During the mentoring process, we’ll address and tackle your biggest challenges head-on and give you the tools specific to your workplace and management style.
Let us help you! Learn more at FTPConsulting.com.
What strategies have you used to revive “Kumbaya” in your workplace?? Have you used the strategies mentioned above? If so, let us know in the comments below!