How to Build a Positive Team Culture to Fuel Project Success

It doesn’t matter how many spreadsheets or project management methods you use. Colin D. Ellis, a keynote speaker and expert in cultural change, says that projects are about people first.
It’s important to think beyond dates and dollars and invest in building a culture that your team values.
Colin says, “The effort you put into conversations at start, to organize people, and yourself, will never, ever go unrewarded.” They also spoke about team culture in organizations on a recent episode.
Listen to Episode 06 to learn how project managers can make a difference in culture and how to do it in your short time.
Positive teams are more productive, according to research. Happiness fuels motivation and that energy spills over into everything you do. Make positivity a part of your team culture.
Here are some ways to get your team excited about the work you do together.
Make your team feel heard and seen
Good news! Your PM doesn’t have to be the only one responsible for building a positive team culture. You’ll actually get the best results if it’s a team affair.
Colin explains that culture is the sum of everyone. “Culture is the sum of everyone’s attitudes and beliefs, behaviors, traditions and skills. Everyone has a role in culture.” One thing positive team cultures share is a high level of engagement in the work. It is important to bring your team into the conversation right away. This will give you a better understanding about your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
These are two great ways to make your team feel heard and seen.
Ask about what has worked and what hasn’t in the past.
This is a great place for you to start if you’re working with a team that is new or has a bad reputation. This will give you an insight into the team’s successes and failures and allow your team to have a say in creating a process that is meaningful.
Colin suggests that people remind themselves that they are here to create something that they are proud to be part of and that moves the organization forward. You want the process to feel like it belongs to those who use it every day.
Learn about each person’s unique style
Nobody likes to feel like a cog in a wheel. It’s important to treat your entire team as valuable people who work together for the greater good of the project. Get to know each member of your team and their working style.
You can help your team understand their strengths and weaknesses and create a pathway for them to bring their best to the table. This personal approach will help build strong working relationships with your team.
Define what it means for a team member to be a good one
Ever wonder why every classroom you entered as a child had rules posted on the walls? Knowing the rules makes it easier to follow them. Imagine if your teachers asked you to define the rules. You would probably be more motivated to take responsibility for your actions.
Clarity is what people love. Clear communication is key to ensuring your team has a stake in the game. Here’s how:
Your vision is yours
It’s easy for projects to be kicked off by giving assignments with a hearty rah rah. Your team will not win by encouraging only. A vision for your team and your projects will help everyone see the same direction, so that you can all arrows towards a single goal.