Team collaboration is essential to get things done in any organization – if you accept that a team is greater than the constituent sum of the individuals, then you must also accept collaboration is the Factor X which increases team value and effectiveness.
This said, too many executives consider collaboration as a buzzword for a passing phase, but no matter what the term used to describe the fuel which powers team performance, it is essential we foster and encourage this attribute.
Instilling Individual and Team Confidence
Confidence is the attribute which allows people to tackle tasks they otherwise would not, or will try but expect to fail no matter what they do. Confidence in self, each other and as a team allows for the right attitude to be adopted, such that problems are not to be feared, rather they are to be embraced and seen for what they are – opportunities.
Establishing Mutual Trust
We all engage in non-productive work behaviors to some extent, and this is essential for team cohesiveness and mutual trust. Water cooler chat creates social bonds, passing by for a brief conversation on what happened at the weekend shares life outside of work, and we should encourage these types of interaction.
The reason is because this creates trust between people, and provides insight into how one another’s minds work and what is happening in the broader picture of life. Trust is essential for building team spirit and promoting collaboration, not least as if a member does not feel they can bring ideas to the table then your team loses that spark of creativity and it is contagious.
Knowledge and Skills Exchange
Knowledge, experience and skills are valuable assets, however some people are inclined to keep their knowledge to themselves, in the mistaken belief this makes them more valuable as an individual. In truth, this makes knowledge hoarders to be viewed as difficult or obstructionist when it comes to working together.
Share knowledge and skills, encourage team members not only to learn from each other, but also to show what they themselves are bringing to the table.
There are plenty of online team collaboration tools out there, but you must ensure policies and security measures are put in place to prevent sharing beyond the boundaries your business establishes. It is very easy to inadvertently share sensitive information with those not authorized to receive it, not least sharing the wrong information in a public forum for instance, or with a competitor.
Establish the rules for privileged and confidential information the team may share with each other, and what is in the public domain.
Team collaboration is a powerful component of how things get done in any organization, and it is not simply restricted to delivering projects or everyday work tasks. Creativity and ideation are essential for any business which wants to grow and improve how it delivers goods and services, as well as building competitive advantage.
Ensure your team have time for sharing information and knowledge, are able to build mutual trust and respect between one another and understand what can be shared externally and what must stay within the confines of the team.
Jane Wrythe is a writer on technology and business, with a particular focus with online team collaboration tools such as JobTraQ.
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