Team-building in a dealership

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The most valuable part of any business is its employees, and for marine dealerships that have small staffs, working as a team may be more important than at bigger firms. Indeed, the term “team-building” is widely preached in all business-management circles these days.

Regardless of size, it may be more important than ever to generate a team atmosphere in today’s dealerships. After all, keeping good techs and salespeople is a must. And employees who believe they’re respected members of the team aren’t as likely to look for employment elsewhere.

Team-building is simply collaborating to strengthen bonds, interpersonal skills, communication and performance. While some companies with many employees hold elaborate weekend-long team-building events, collaboration doesn’t have to cost big money or take a lot of time.

“Some easy ideas include popular Escape Rooms or, perhaps, participating as a team in a 5K charity run,” suggests author Sammi Caramela at Business News Daily and Business.com. “It can be any effort that brings workers together without the stress of work or deadlines.”

The goal is similar to a winning sports team whose members getting along well and acknowledge each other's strengths and weakness. Experts say collaboration will always be more seamless if everyone is comfortable with each other.

“Additionally, the company culture will feel more welcoming and supportive,” Caramela contends. “Imagine walking into a room filled with silent colleagues who keep to themselves and don't give you the time of day; now imagine working with colleagues you also consider friends or acquaintances, who you can enjoy grabbing lunch or having a casual conversation with. It makes a major difference.”

Here are some simple ways to enhance team-building efforts.

First, don't wait for some mythical perfect moment. One trigger could be when hiring new talent. Plan an icebreaker so everyone can get to know each other. Make time to speak with the new team member one-on-one; it helps bridge the gap that often exists with new hires.

Consider having coffee with a new employee and take the time to find out about their interests and hobbies. Learning who employees are and what they care about is an important step some companies overlook. It lets your team know you’re invested in their success.

Keep an open company culture because trust is crucial in team-building. If employees don't feel their leader is open and honest, they'll likely avoid asking questions or voicing concerns. Transparency works both ways, and as the leader, you have to establish it from the start. Ensuring communication that’s open in both directions will increase respect and loyalty among team members.

Arvind Raichur, CEO of MrOwl, a social cloud storage service, emphasizes that team-building has lasting positive effects on the business and the employees. “Teamwork is important,” he says, “because it empowers team members to own their roles in working toward the same collective goals, regardless of department or level. By continuing to improve this team ethic, employees can feel a sense of importance and pride in what is accomplished as a group.”

Conversely, without your team you wouldn't be able to accomplish as much or grow your dealership. Today more than ever, we can’t have good employees taking a hike. Learning more about their personalities, quirks and interests will increase loyalty, which improves the employer-employee relationship and strengthens bonds between your colleagues. This is vital to positive collaboration and teamwork.

Finally, personalizing team-building efforts will increase your understanding of every member and allow you to play to individual strengths. It will make you a better leader and help your team grow in the right direction — a direction that benefits every person, as well as the business.

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