In a survey of 1,400 of corporate executives, employees, and educators, 97% felt that the alignment of a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project.
If you want to ensure that the outcome of projects in your company are at the highest quality possible, you need to start by creating truly collaborative teams. Here are the things that those teams know — things that will help the rest of us be successful too.
Communication should include face-to-face interactions
Every team needs to establish ground rules on communication methods. In addition to synchronous written communication (like real-time messaging) and asynchronous written communication (like writing an update for someone to read later), most team members need to have face-to-face interactions as well.
If your team is on-site, those interactions can happen in open-design workplaces, scheduled meetings, impromptu meetings, and any environment that supports always keeping the door open.
This doesn’t mean that everyone on a team has to be in the same workplace, however. If your company has team members spread throughout the country (or the globe), encourage team members to meet virtually instead of just voice.
This will help team members communicate with more than just words — the ability to express their emotions through facial expressions and gestures will strengthen the team’s relationship as a whole.
Leaders must manage projects, tasks, and relationships
Successful project management goes beyond keeping track of tasks and due dates. Collaborative team leaders must focus on helping the team build relationships. Relationships are what really ensure success.
People will work harder to meet those deadlines when they know someone they care about is depending on them.
Strong team leaders need to be able to recognize the times when the team needs a boost to get them on the same page again, or when the team needs a mediator to resolve an internal conflict.
Teams need bonding experiences beyond work
Wonder why major brands like Google have on-campus recreation centers, create sport teams, and allow pets? It’s because they know that their teams need to have experiences to bond that goes beyond working together on the job.
They know that team members who get to know each other’s interests and passions outside of their daily tasks and projects will form stronger relationships, and thus, be more collaborative.
Adding sports into your team’s mix, whether it is at an on-site facility or a community recreation center, can allow your team to build and strengthen collaboration skills outside of the work environment that will benefit them when they are back in the office.
Whether your team meets every weekend to play sports or even just once a quarter for a day of games, you will see your team bond after each event.
Everyone needs to know when to listen and speak up
It’s important to create an environment where each team member feels comfortable about discussing things openly with the team, both good and bad, either in team meetings or privately with the team leader. And everyone benefits by working on their listening skills.
As a team leader, it’s important to know how to quell gossiping in the team so that no members feel like they are being left out of the discussion or being talked about behind their back.
This will help create an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their feelings and concerns with the team, even if those concerns are about a specific team member’s performance.
Decisions affecting the team should be made as a team
Most people think about collaboration in terms of working together on projects. But what about changes that affect the team itself?
Team members should be included in the discussion around topics like choosing new collaboration software, changing the time of a regularly-scheduled meeting, setting up a team-bonding activity, or other similar decisions.
While the team leader will have the ultimate say, involving the team in major decisions will make everyone feel like they are on a truly collaborative team, inside and out.
If you want to form truly collaborative teams in your company, be sure to keep all of these things in mind.
Remember that each team has the power to increase its effectiveness. Start building relationships with your teams by having them share what they need to improve their collaboration today.