Tips To Develop Collaboration In Workplace
When one looks closely as to why some companies are doing exceptionally good and some disappear without a trace, it is easy to find the reasons why the former is thriving and the latter is in the doldrums. One of the many reasons that cause companies to fail is poor collaboration. And why is it so? In research that covered more than a thousand employees in corporate setups, it was found that almost 96% of people felt that it was lack of proper collaboration between teams and team members lead to failures at workplaces. When the same set of people were asked as to two main ways to improve collaboration, it was found that
1. Most people blamed the decision-makers who failed to seek the opinion of teams before making decisions, leading to collapse of the collaboration and communication system; and
2. There were another set of people who felt that the reason why collaborations fail is that corporates fail to reason out and discuss issues ethically and honestly.
Why is collaboration important?
Collaboration is essential for team building. If corporates wish to maximize the performance and productivity of their team members, they need to work and focus on team engagement. Engaging team members requires co-ordination, communication and teamwork. When all the three elements sync with one another, the results are bound to be great and go beyond the expected results.
When teams collaborate with one another, it is not only the corporate that gains, but individual employees also gain at personal levels. At an organizational level, people from different background, mindset and thought-process come together and work together. Views are expressed openly and without any fear; interactions are more practical and goal-oriented creating an understanding workplace culture where employees are ready to support one another to achieve team objectives.
At an individual level, the individual growth of employees happens when the organizations and the teams do good. As the organizational and team goals are achieved, it means career progression for the members too which is what employees seek at the end of the day.
How to build a strong collaborative team?
1. Authoritative leadership does not really work anymore. As leaders and managers, you need to be able to let your team members work intuitively and on their own. You need to stop the urge to give directions at every step. As a leader, your role is to decide the goals and the strategies and then assign jobs to your team members to achieve the goals. Beyond this, you need to let your people and employees work and perform. Space is an important element in the modern-day workplace. Some corporates fill their workplace with as much flexibility as possible to let team members work creatively. They let employees brainstorm at their levels and resolve issues on their own. As leaders and managers, you intervene when you feel that a member gets stuck or the team is unable to find the proper way out. The urge to join in immediately and take decisions on behalf of your employees should be resisted.
2. Encourage all team members to share their ideas and participate in brainstorming sessions. The culture of team managers making all critical decisions is passé now. During team meetings, it is not about only the manager talking and others listening; it is about everyone getting the chance to talk and express their views on the particular point being debated. The more information gets shared at team meetings, the better the chance that the topic gets covered from all possible angles. To make sure that every aspect of the topic has been discussed and in the best interest of the team goals and performance, brainstorming should be made an important aspect of team building.
3. Strengthen the communication between different departments, teams and within each team too. Written and verbal communication standards are very important aspects of organizational culture. Ensure that the communication standards in the workplace are thoroughly clear, ethical and of course, formal. There are certain expected standards of official communication, and organizations need to focus meticulously on the same.
4. Small-sized team sizes work most effectively. It has been proven that big-sized teams have lesser chances of having stronger collaborative effort. This is because of the tunnel vision where the manager tends to lose focus of the bigger picture and settle for a single idea or a part of the picture. Small teams tend to work in a close-knit manner because it is easier for team members to know each other better and work in a more collaborated manner. Small teams are more united in their efforts, people know each other at a personal level and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
5. Manage conflict progressively and productively. Team management also involves conflict management. When your team members are engaged in disputes and inter-team rivalries, the same needs to be resolved with an open mind, ethically, fairly and by giving each side a fair chance to present their issues. Conflicts need to be resolved with maturity and with focus on the future of the team. Team leaders have a powerful role to play here and they need to actively undertake the job.
6. Respect and communicate with one another with esteem. However, big or small the organizational designation is, there has to be respected in dealing with one another. And this needs to be implemented from top to down. Showing respect is part of best practises and however junior a person’s designation is, he needs to be regarded as a human being. Small things like making eye contact or greeting a person regularly and that too with a smile, go a long way in showing respect to others. With this spirit as an essential part of your organizational culture, the spirit of brotherhood and unity sets in gradually and the collaborative sense reaches a new height.
7. One of the best ways to enhance team engagement is to train your people with soft skills and involve them in regular team building activities. Soft skills training helps employees pursue their career more proficiently and grow in their field.