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6 Actions Successful Leaders Take To Enhance The Collaboration Of Their Teams

6 Actions Successful Leaders Take To Enhance The Collaboration Of Their Teams
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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