DO’s and DON’Ts for Excellent Teamwork

Organizational cultures that foster teamwork impact productivity and employee engagement. At The Ritz-Carlton, excellent teamwork enables our employees—also known as Ladies and Gentlemen—to provide consistent and excellent service each day. Our Service Values reinforce this dedication to collaboration and encourage our Ladies and Gentlemen to: “create a work environment of teamwork and lateral service so that the needs of our guests and each other are met.”

Because we are Ladies and Gentlemen, we naturally treat each other with kindness and respect. The following DO’s and DON’Ts share practical ways that employees can contribute to an atmosphere of teamwork by expressing kindness and respect.

DO provide feedback in appropriate settings

Everyone makes mistakes. If a colleague makes a one-time mistake, then talk to the individual privately rather than discussing it at a meeting or sending a group email. It is kinder to “praise in public and coach in private.”

DO create structure for your meetings

Providing a list of items to cover helps the group stay on topic and focused. Each agenda item should have a clear owner who can lead the conversation, and subsequent action steps should also have clear owners. It is respectful of your colleagues’ workload to structure meetings that promote responsibility, accountability and greater efficiency.

DO respect your colleagues’ time

Employees should arrive at meetings and join conference calls on time, and they should be prepared. They shouldn’t be scrambling to organize their thoughts and agenda items as the appointment commences. Conversely, meetings should end on time. Most people in the workforce know what it feels like to have days of back-to-back items on their schedules. Do not place additional stress on your colleagues’ day by making them late for their next engagement.

DON’T interrupt your colleagues

Respect your colleagues’ ideas and actively listen. Do not simply wait for them to stop talking, but make an effort to digest their point-of-view. This is particularly tough to accomplish when conversing over the phone because of the lack of visual cues. Be patient and listen carefully to ensure the greatest amount of success.

DO follow through on your commitments

Ensuring follow-through starts with setting reasonable goals and expectations. Allot the appropriate amount of time to ensure tasks can be done well and on time. If more time is needed, communicate the issue and ask for an extension as far in advance of the deadline as possible. Perhaps your team will provide additional support or resources in order to accomplish the task or goal.

DON’T make your colleagues feel micro-managed

Do not overload employees with email or hover over them as they work. As a leader, it is important to keep your team informed and be available to them, but it is equally important to act in a way that lets your colleagues know that they are trusted and respected.

DO communicate effectively

Create norms that generate a comfortable, open environment for communication, and act with consideration for teammates. For example, when stepping out for an off-site meeting, let co-workers know. Consider having a daily meeting to keep team members informed. At The Ritz-Carlton, we conduct Daily Line-Ups briefly at the beginning of each shift to communicate company values and announcements relevant to our operations.

DO give colleagues the benefit of the doubt

If a colleague seems to have made a mistake, treat the colleague as innocent and gather all the facts. Diana Oreck, Former Vice President of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, states, “Let’s not automatically start with criticism and blame. Kindness should always be one’s starting point.” Even if it turns out that a mistake was made, continue to support the team member and remember to “praise in public and coach in private.”

DO remember the benefits of teamwork

Organizations structure themselves in teams for a reason — “teamwork makes the dream work.” When team members act kindly toward each other, they create a safe, friendly and positive environment that leads to greater harmony. When colleagues show appreciation and consideration for each other, they create a respectful atmosphere where everyone can feel valued. When the team embraces these two critical components—kindness and respect, there is greater unity, reliability and fidelity. And consequently, a better chance your organization will achieve its goals. 

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center offers advisory services, courses and presentations to organizations that wish to benchmark the award-winning business practices of The Ritz-Carlton. Your organization can learn about The Ritz-Carlton methodology for customer service, employee engagement and leadership development. Join us at our Symposium: Your Journey to Service Excellence. We also guide organizations through a multi-step process in order to achieve sustainable culture transformation.