If two heads are better than one, surely a gaggle of grey matter is even better, right? Definitely. By collaborating in the workplace, your business can benefit from the multiple perspectives, unique talents, and individual work styles that each member of your team possesses. And this is a recipe for success.
How can you transform your current company culture into a hub of collaboration and teamwork? It’s easier than you may think. And no novelty puzzle pieces are required.
Create a Collaborative Setting
Communicating over cubicle walls is not exactly conducive to the free exchange of ideas. If you want your employees to “come together,” you will need to begin by removing physical barriers.
This means introducing meeting places where your team can collaborate comfortably, which according to “4 Ways to Foster Workplace Collaboration,” includes an open work environment where workers can see each other and communicate with each other.
Provide Collaborative Technologies
Your team can only be as collaborative as your company’s technologies will allow. Desktop computers and old school telephone systems greatly inhibit teamwork.
Instead, adopt portable technologies such as laptops, Wi-Fi, cell phones, video and web conferencing, and social collaboration tools. Some team collaborating tools that you may wish to check out include Podio, Yammer, Flow, and Huddle.
Be a Co-collaborator
As a leader, you need to practise–and model–what you preach. If you want your employees to collaborate, you will need to do it too.
This means participating in meetings with your team, taking part in joint brainstorming sessions, sharing the results of collaborative efforts, and practising transparency. Cisco Executive, Ron Ricci, tells Forbes that there is a direct relationship between the agility and resilience of a team and the transparency of its decision-making process. The more open, the better.
Foster Positive Relationships
In order to ensure that the collaborative effort takes place in an atmosphere of openness and respect, it is crucial that team members are encouraged to get to know each other on a personal level.
While it is helpful to bond through group functions like staff parties, picnics, or other events, American Express also recommends that each staff member complete a simple personality profile that shows their likes and dislikes regarding communication, tasks, and personal focus. This will better enable the team to assign tasks that play to each individual’s strengths.
Communicate a Collaboration Process
Providing your team with a meeting place and telling them to “get to it” is not enough. They need to have a clear idea as to how the collaborative process works and what the goals of the process will be.
Make sure that each collaborative team possesses an accurate understanding of their responsibilities and roles within the group. Ensure that goals are broken into doable steps and that they are measurable. And, most importantly, set guidelines for reaching decisions. Who has the final say?
You have carefully selected the members of your team for a reason. They are, after all, each a rock star in their own right. Imagine what they will be capable of creating together.
How do you encourage a collaborative culture in your workplace?