Role of Relationships & Teamwork on Workforce Engagement

My first job after graduating from college was with a Tier-1 automotive interiors company. I still have the lanyard card that was given to me at my orientation with the title “The Cornerstones” which highlighted key values of the organization. These cornerstones mean as much to me today as they did on my first day on the job. I believe them to be the most straightforward and inspiring standards for promoting productive relationships and teamwork, while also providing a framework for addressing issues that will certainly arise when working with a team.
  • Confront issues that need to be resolved and avoid confrontations with people.
  • Respect other people’s feelings.
  • Build constructive relationships.
  • Take ownership to make things better.
  • Do whatever it takes.
When describing the responsibility each of us has as a member of a team, I like to use the analogy of an internal combustion engine. Within an engine, there are many different parts that must work in harmony to make the engine function optimally. If one part or system isn’t working properly, the engine either doesn’t work or it operates at a reduced efficiency. So, if one employee or an entire department isn’t working collaboratively, the overall system will fail or be forced to operate at a limited capacity. This is a great way to think about the role each of us plays and the implications we have on the effectiveness of the overall team.
My goal as a leader is to figure out what each team member is passionate about and look for opportunities to leverage that passion to the advantage of the team. People who love what they do tend to be the most engaged and make the greatest contributions. I’m also a big believer in the ideal of “Best idea wins!” The team wins when everyone knows their ideas are welcomed and appreciated. There is no greater incentive for team members to contribute their ideas than knowing there is an opportunity for those ideas to be implemented and being recognized for their contribution. It’s powerful to watch what happens when people realize their ideas are truly valued. Everybody likes winning!  
We would all like our jobs to provide us with the opportunity to contribute our skills and talents to help drive the goals of the company we work for. In return, we receive (in addition to a paycheck!) the personal satisfaction of knowing we aided in the success of our team. No matter your job, title or career goals, building and maintaining productive relationships and working effectively on teams are skills that will benefit you. The relationships built externally with customers and even internally will directly impact your success and the fulfillment we achieve in our work lives.
Our experts at The Center can help you learn how to be an effective leader and build a strong culture. Contact us to get started!
MEET OUR EXPERT:  Jim Gorman, Director of Business Development
Gorman,-Jim.jpgJim Gorman is Director of Business Development at The Center and works directly with manufacturers in Eaton, Ingham, Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties. Jim has extensive experience in process and product development, automation, strategic planning and innovation. Jim holds multiple patents for automotive interior product innovations, several of which have been commercialized for serial production.  
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Leadership/Culture, Manufacturing, Sales & Marketing, workforce