Collaboration takes place when a group of people work together towards achieving a common goal by sharing their ideas and skills. Our Director Sean Uys delves into the importance of collaboration and provides important tips on how to empower teams through collaboration.
In many of my meetings with clients where we discuss required outcomes for upcoming team builds, I find that collaboration is increasingly mentioned and required. Many companies recognise the need for this better collaboration but have no real idea what it entails or how to make it a reality for their teams.
Leaders are Increasingly finding collaboration to be a difficult challenge. New communication technologies often do not lend themselves to effective collaboration.
People are losing their ability to effectively communicates and reach rapport or ‘a meeting of the minds’. The tendency to use one-way communication such as WhatsApp groups and email directly compromises a company’s ability to work effectively together as a whole.
In addition, the bonds that tie us as individuals are being broken by increasingly busy lives and the use of social media.
So what to do? Here are 8 quick tips that can assist in ensuring that collaboration is fostered and promoted in your company or team.
Define goals clearly and ensure that the team understands the objective of the group as a whole.
The organization’s leaders must clearly define and communicate goals and the required outcomes of the team as a whole. Without a clear end point, the team will have no over-arching rallying point to coalesce around.
Spend time defining the communication methods and refining your team’s ability to communicate effectively.
Have the tough conversations and encourage this in your teams. Real meetings solve in 5 minutes issues that would require days of emailing. In meetings with clients we are increasingly finding that teams and individuals in organisations are facing tough challenges around effective communication. New communication techniques and technologies are useful but tend to foster one-way communication. This in turn tends to result in fewer of the meaningful conversations that make problem solving possible.
Identify and celebrate the strengths of individual team members.
Inspire and aspire! A focus on the results and aims of the team as a whole does not mean neglecting individual triumphs. The team is still a group of individual people and indicidual motivation is also important. Under-performing and inexperienced team members must be inspired by the triumphs of the star members.
This can be a difficult task. In science, cohesion is described as follows: ‘allows for the development of surface tension, the capacity of a substance to withstand being ruptured when placed under tension or stress. One useful way to encourage this is through socialising together out of work and undertaking team building activities.
Leaders should increase trust within the group by honouring promises and ensuring that team members do the same.
Leaders and team members need to ensure that they are honest and realistic about their promises. Trust is a very important pre-cursor to proper collaboration.
Plan activities outside of the normal workspace that give the team the opportunity to Learn the skills necessary to collaborate more effectively.
This is linked to cohesion and is important in it’s own right as well. People tend to see each other not as people but as co-workers only and once these barriers are brought down, trust and cohesion increase immediately. It is always surprising that on many of our team building events we discover that even in teams that have been working together for 10 or 15 years, some of the team members have never had a meaningful personal conversation.
Celebrate success together.
When a target is reached or a goal is attained, celebrating together encourages the team as a whole to assign the necessary value to that goal or achievement and and increases the excitement of the group about achieving the next goal. Success leads to further success.
Ensure you have ‘the right people on the bus’. Hiring individuals who are open minded and emotionally intelligent will go a long way to increasing collaboration.
This is not always easy in hindsight, however as I continue to learn and grow as a leader in my own business, I am increasingly aware that some individuals are more disposed to collaboration. Identifying and valuing these traits is essential.
Better collaboration can be a game-changer for any organisation. Good Luck!
Sean Uys is a qualified Attorney and Motivational Speaker who has worked in the team building and group dynamics industry for over 20 years. Sean is the owner of South Africa’s largest national team building service provider, Beach and Bush team Building.
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