How the Best Leaders Foster Effective Team Collaboration
Team collaboration isn't a new concept, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It involves more than avoiding conflict and making sure people can work together. True team collaboration is about team members working together in an effective and innovative way to produce the best business results.
October 2, 2018

Team collaboration isn't a new concept, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It involves more than avoiding conflict and making sure people can work together. True team collaboration is about team members working together in an effective and innovative way to produce the best business results.

Team leaders help develop the most successful teams by implementing strategies and using collaboration tools that help individual members bring the best out in each other and do their best work.

Today, we'll walk through how high performing teams foster the most collaborative work environment, generate new ideas, grow and stay ahead of the competition.

Foster Robust Communication

Any organisation that doesn't place an emphasis on clear, robust communication will never experience optimal team collaboration. In project management, delivering the best customer service has everything to do with collaborating to meet the customers' needs.

Communicate with team members clearly and often throughout any project. A good best practice is to ask questions instead of making assumptions. Team members should feel like there is no 'stupid question' and that they can reach out to their co-workers at any time for support.

Active listening and assuming positive intent are also great ground rules for creating and atmosphere of communication and collaboration.

Put the Best Leaders in Place

Collaborative teams are led by highly collaborative leaders who are focused on relationships as much as they are tasks. Successful team leaders have the right mix of technical, relational and organisational skills that guide teams to the best results.

They are able to assess individual employees' strengths and weaknesses, assign them to tasks that meet their skill set and strengths, and help them further their career development. Good leaders help fill the gaps when they see team members have areas for improvement by empowering them with professional development and training rather than chastising or disciplining them.

Finally, effective team leaders should make their direct reports feel like they have an open, transparent working relationship regardless of their level or rank in the company. They should be open to constructive criticism and always be working to improve their own skill set as much as they do their team members.

Effectively Manage Conflict

Conflict isn't managed by avoiding it. In fact, conflict can be positive if handled the right way. When several employees come together to manage a new project, everyone has different perspectives, making conflict almost inevitable.

Everyone has different ideas, and each individual member is invested in thinking theirs is the best. Good project managers lead teams with ground rules of engagement to foster positive team collaboration. These team leaders need to step in when they see conflict arising and work to mitigate it rather then ignore it.

Nothing kills team collaboration faster than poorly managed conflict. When it happens (and it will), tackle it head-on. Gather the individual team members involved in the conflict in a face-to-face meeting with a neutral third party. Let each person talk about the conflict without being interrupted, allowing everyone the opportunity to be heard and understood.

Once the conflict has been aired out, make a conflict resolution plan. Keep emotions out of it and have everyone make commitments about how they will do things differently in the future. It's helpful to document this so you can go back to it later if anyone needs a reminder of what they committed to.

Use Team Collaboration Tools

In today's digital age, there's no shortage of team collaboration tools and video conferencing programs and software that helps teams collaborate more effectively. Your team can try tools like Samewave, a social performance management software that streamlines communication and collaboration for in-person and remote teams.

Our software allows teams to collaborate more by creating tasks, common goals and targets in one place, communicate about progress towards goals in multiple chat streams, upload and store files and documents, and can even generate automatic reports.

Samewave leverages the power of Promise-Based Management and the psychological theory of Social Discipline to increase accountability to goals when people make public promises to one another in a transparent environment. Even better, Samewave is free. Download it today and use our software with your teams to start creating a more collaborative work environment.

Motivate and Engage Employees

Engaged, motivated employees are the foundation of collaborative teams. So, what motivates and engages team members?

Reward high performers for going above and beyond. If they don't feel rewarded and appreciated for their efforts, they often seek greener pastures with your competitors. There are so many ways to reward high performers and make them feel valued. Promotions, raises, bonuses, extra perks, time off or gift cards are just a few easy ways you can keep your teams motivated while making them feel appreciated.

In addition, strong leaders make sure to foster employee engagement throughout the workplace by providing opportunities to build good working relationships outside of the office. People that like one another and have personal friendships trust each other, and they collaborate better as a result. Take time to schedule recreational activities for your teams like social dinners, happy hours, sporting events and team challenges to strengthen team collaboration.

Collaborate More to Achieve More

Successful team collaboration is an ongoing process. It's not a set of tactics or strategies you put into place once and forget about. It's an intentional, dynamic process that needs to be nurtured over time.

Put these tips and best practices into place to foster a work environment where team collaboration is the norm rather than the exception. Positive and effective collaboration shouldn't be a mere goal, it should be a critical part of your organisational culture and vision that permeates every aspect of the company.

Promote open communication, create a collaborative environment, use software and tools that promote collaboration, manage conflict the right way with the right leaders in place, and watch your organisation thrive and grow.

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