People thrive in a work environment that frees them to communicate and collaborate. In the times when more teams are going remote, it is now more essential than ever to get people to work together to achieve shared goals.
However, today many organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve a collaborative mindset. The challenge is getting team members to know each other better, having them interact with each other for greater success, and maintaining transparency. To ensure your cross-team collaboration is set up for success, I have come up with a few tips that will help you prepare your team for collaboration improvements.
In the absence of shared values and goals, organizations suffer a lack of focus and face strategic failure. To avoid confusion and finger-pointing, it’s important to set measurable goals for each team member every quarter. At the end of the quarter, the outcomes of these goals must be made available to the whole team to celebrate progress or to determine where improvements need to be made. This will enable everyone in the team to be on the same page.
To keep confusion at the bay, establish a team charter that should include:
To foster cohesion between team members, teams should have daily huddles to discuss their goals and objectives for the day. This simply avoids duplication of effort and unnecessary competition between team members. As a team leader, you need to set an agenda. The meeting doesn’t have to be an hour or two; it can be as short as 15-20 minutes. Remember, the more time people spend in the meeting, the less time they have to complete their work.
Occasionally invite stakeholders from other departments to foster a sense of collective responsibility for the organization’s success. Brainstorm with them to look at the task(s) from a fresh perspective.
Some leaders believe that task orientation is the best form of leadership—an approach that arms them with the ability to have clear objectives about the task at hand while monitoring and offering feedback at the same time. On the other hand, others argue that relationship-oriented leadership is appropriate simply because people love to share knowledge in an environment of trust and confidence.
I suggest you be utterly task oriented in the early stages, keeping it all about goals, commitments, and responsibilities. As time progress, switch over to relationship-based leadership.
Many project management tools enable everyone on the team to post messages, ask questions and share updates on a collaboration platform. Centralizing communication fosters camaraderie by allowing remote employees to remain connected to team members. This also minimizes miscommunication, which often leads to conflict.
There’s nothing wrong with recognizing employees who go the extra mile to satisfy client requirements. But then, it’s better off for you to bet on team performance over individual performance. To keep your team inspired, you should make a point of acknowledging and rewarding cross-functional and collaborative breakthroughs.
Encouraging all team members to give feedback that can contribute to improving processes and workflow. To encourage collaboration, leaders need to nurture a culture where anyone can ask any questions. When there are no ‘silly’ questions to ask or ‘not good enough’ ideas to share, collaborators are free to stretch their imaginations.
When team members learn they share common interests or wrestle with some of the same challenges outside of work, they perceive their team to be real, which defuses individual bias and stereotyping. Simple team building activities and problem-solving games are an effective way to teach team members how to communicate efficiently and most importantly trust one another’s judgment. (We have a blog on this too)
With company-sponsored volunteering events, a sports league or a trivia team, you can encourage your team to socialize outside of work.
Final thought: Away from the current system of recognizing individual performances, we need to realize that team collaboration is the only path forward to accelerate growth.