Collaboration and teamwork is becoming more and more important in the modern workplace. Though each member of a team usually specializes in a single area, they all have to make sure they’re “on the same page” throughout every step of a project or process. As a leader, your job is to make sure all of your employees are striving toward a common goal. Here are some actions that successful leaders implement in order to make that happen.
1. Make your expectations known
Face it: the members of your team would be happy to sit in their cubicles all day, do the work that’s been assigned to them, and go on their way at five o’clock. It’s up to you to connect individual team members with each other at different stages in the process. Rather than having each member reporting directly to you if they face an issue, they should first be consulting with their colleagues to figure out a solution on their own. By expecting your employees to be autonomous, you’ll end up increasing the productivity of the office as a whole.
2. Have a system
Luckily, we live in a time in which technology has made collaboration incredibly easy. Services such as Transpose allow team members to share information, schedules, and memos with the click of a button. These online databases streamline a company’s workflow by allowing team members to stay in constant communication with one another, regardless of their physical location. When each member of your team is on board with using these electronic means of collaboration, productivity will skyrocket.
3. Promote engagement
Of course, there will always be those who prefer to work alone, or who are averse to learning how to operate a new system. As their supervisor, you need to, again, make your expectations clear and show them the benefits of collaboration. Consistently promote the idea that, though they are individuals, they are a part of a much bigger whole, and without their buy-in, the team will suffer. Provide team-building seminars and exercises that will help those who struggle to collaborate see the value in effective communication and teamwork.
4. Model flexibility
Of course, no team will go long without disagreements between individuals. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Disagreements happen, but it’s how they are dealt with that determines whether a team is pushed forward or held back. As a leader, you can model flexibility and compromise in a variety of ways. Show your team members it’s not about “getting their way,” but about finding a middle ground on which everyone is content.
5. Be a problem solver
If a disagreement gets too out of hand, you’ll need to step in and mediate the issue right away. When team members aren’t able to compromise on their own, it will be up to you to set each individual straight. Sometimes, this might mean they’ll both walk away unhappy. But they’re adults, and they’ll get over it. As the leader of a team, you need to be able to remove emotions from the playing field and see things from an objective perspective in order to know what’s best for the company.
6. Be a participant
Most importantly, as a supervisor of a team, you’re still a member of the team. You can’t rule with an iron fist, or a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Doing so will only cause dissension among the ranks. As a leader, you should be the most active member of the group, constantly bouncing ideas off one another, promoting teamwork and collaboration whenever possible. By doing so, not only do you set the standard and act as a role model, but you also actively monitor the performance of your team in a much more positive way.
Featured photo credit: Collaboration / Chris Lott via farm1.staticflickr.com