In the world of work today, where more and more specialists are a part of the organisation, leaders who can effectively bring these diverse groups together to get things done are definitely at an advantage. Collaboration is the key and getting team members to work together in cooperation with each other is increasingly essential for success especially as more organisations move to a matrix approach in their management and leadership practices.
Getting a group of diverse people to work towards a common goal can be extremely rewarding to a team leader. It can also be unnerving and frustrating as well. Knowing how to collaborate effectively and to get others to collaborate to achieve can make a significant difference.
So let’s take a look at 6 tips which help you improve collaboration among your team members whether they are direct reports or are working for you from different parts of the organisation on a significant project.
- Clearly define the goals and the expected outcome of the project the team is working on. Each member’s responsibilities should be explicitly identified. It may seem obvious to you but you want it to be obvious to the team member as well. They shouldn’t be wondering what to do next or who is doing what. Delegate key responsibilities to your team; those that make an impact on the project outcome.
- If you have the opportunity then choose your team by carefully thinking about the people you want to work on this project. Assigning tasks to the right people is necessary to having an effective collaboration. When choosing members, consider each member’s skills, personality, their experience and their schedules.
- Are there members of your team who are afraid to voice their opinions or to argue? These members won’t be adding to any helpful and stimulating ideas and need to be encouraged to speak up. Just because they are quiet doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas. Always include every team member in discussions.
- Recognize and celebrate good collaborative behavior. Mention the great work the team is doing in the company newsletter, on a podcast or annual report.
- Provide your collaboration team with the right and necessary tools. Do they need specific software or task management tools? These types of tools can be especially important if you team works from different locations.
- Once your collaboration is going, continue to mix things up. If the people on your team are collaborating more with people they know, like and trust it might be time to mix up your teams. For example invite the production guys to your design meeting. Better yet send everyone out for drinks or other social building time. This forces all your teams to come in contact and connect with the others.
I am sure that you can think of circumstances where improving collaboration among your team members is sometimes necessary. Team members need to know their role in a project and to be encouraged to collaborate with other members they don’t know in order to build trust to work together cohesively.