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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 January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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