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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

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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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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