If you’re a leader in your workplace, chances are you’ve had difficulty getting your team to collaborate well at least a few times in your career, whether with each other or with outsiders from different companies or departments. Teamwork is a vital part of the modern workplace, so if your team isn’t as cooperative as you want them to be, try the following ways to foster better collaboration:
Make your expectations clear
If you want your team to collaborate seamlessly, make sure that you have clearly told them to do so. Start by having them work together – at least in part – on projects they’d normally complete solo. Also, where possible, encourage them to work with colleagues they’re not overly familiar with.
This way, everybody will have a chance to get to know each other, as well as to discover where their skillsets may align for future projects. Set team goals well in advance, too: team members should know how they’re expected to work together, and what the results should look like. Over time, collaboration will become a normal part of your team’s work lives, and they’ll do it well without a second thought.
Lead with the right attitude
Set a good example by showing your team exactly how you want them to work, rather than simply telling them. Rather than simply leading your team, involve yourself in their projects where you can, and work closely with your peers, so your team know that higher-ups are collaborating, too. Additionally, if your company has a set of values that doesn’t include the importance of collaboration, add it. New employees will know right from the beginning that collaboration is part of the culture, and seasoned employees will soon adopt it.
Host business events in high-quality venues
Choosing a high-quality venue for meetings will help your team to feel much more motivated. People aren’t as likely to feel highly productive if they work in a small, windowless room with nothing on the walls, so encourage their creativity by taking them out to a setting that’s a little more glamorous. This is especially helpful if your team is working with a group from another company – you’ll be making a great impression, and your team will feel appreciated and subsequently more enthusiastic about working hard.
Use collaboration tools
You can find a wealth of online collaboration tools for measuring progress and figuring out how well your team is working together. Encouraging the use of instant-messaging software (i.e. Slack) among teammates will help your team to feel comfortable asking their coworkers questions. Similarly, using software that allows work on shared documents (i.e. Google Drive) can help your team to save time during the day. Teach your team how to use these tools well, then watch as they work together with confidence.
Make your atmosphere more creative
It’s possible that your team might not enjoy working together because they feel that they may be judged for their ideas. Hold meetings during which it’s made clear that all suggestions are welcome, and gradually, your team will feel more comfortable about sharing their thoughts with their peers, and thus more enthusiastic about working with one another. You might like to award prizes for creativity, too, so your team understands its importance in the workplace.
A team that works well together is a team that will reach their goals and consistently raise their productivity levels. Whether your employees need to work well within their own team or with another group of people, foster collaboration and you’ll have a successful group of people on your hands.
Cloe Matheson hails from the South Island city of Dunedin, New Zealand. She truly believes that great teamwork is an important component of a successful business. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Visit Cloe’s Tumblr page to read more of her published work.