“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This age-old African proverb has never lost any of its relevance or potency. Regardless of company size or industry, a cohesive spirit of teamwork and collaboration boosts performance and staff morale. It fosters a shared sense of purpose and belonging.
Given how crucial collaboration and cohesion are to productivity, they clearly shouldn’t be left to chance. There are a variety of strategies leaders and managers can implement to turn a roomful of individual goals into a high-performance dream-team-machine.
Clarify and Communicate Team Goals
Firstly, define team goals clearly and precisely, and communicate them regularly to the whole crew. This way, everyone is always on the same page. These could be daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or even bigger goals. This instils in the whole team a passionate spirit of collective purpose. Morning huddles are a great way to promote the awareness that team members are working together towards something specific. Furthermore, the team can take this opportunity to create their own daily goals.
Highlight Individual Strengths AND Reward Successful Teamwork
Secondly, staff who do not feel valued or appreciated are more likely to leave. A collaborative environment should take into account the particular and unique set of skills that each member brings to the table. This highlights how these contribute to the effort to meet team goals. On the other hand, make it clear that staff are rewarded based on their collaborative successes. This way, effective teamwork becomes a way for individuals to gain the recognition they crave.
Thirdly, aimless and structureless collaboration loses its cohesion and can be actively detrimental to performance. Individual roles and responsibilities within the team should be clearly communicated and followed-up. Each team-member being held accountable in a loving and supportive spirit. Increase the structure and cohesion of your collaboration with the use of online and physical resources. Clearly established parameters and a precise (yet flexible) plan of action.
Fourthly, creativity and collaboration rely on open channels of communication. Above all this relies on trust, empathy and freedom from judgement. Consequently, it is key that you nurture psychologically safe environments where individuals feel confident in voicing their ideas, doubts, and goals. Remember it’s healthy to talk about mistakes too. This encourages effective, innovative and productive teamwork.
Knowledge is Power
Fifthly, team-members to trust that their input and skills are equally valued. This means that everyone needs to be on the same page regarding goals, progress, problems, etc.. Consequently, you need to make sure that no one is getting left out of the loop. Using both online and physical spaces where everyone is empowered to contribute to a project on an even playing field. Similarly, leaders should ensure everyone has access to information relevant to the project.
Take it Outside
Finally, for a team to collaborate effectively, members need to see each other as humans, not merely colleagues. In other words, they need to connect with each other based on mutual interests, experiences and aspirations. From group coffee breaks, lunches or beers to in-office games or off-site retreats, help your team members relate to each other on a more personal level.
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Get a definition of Collaboration here