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How to create a collaborative team

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Posted by Maddison Brown on 30 Aug 2019

Workplaces and the way employees’ function in them has changed drastically over the last 20 years. We are no longer static and segregated in the workplace, but more flexible in the way we work.

Collaborative team environments are actively encouraged by some of the world’s largest corporates, with companies such as Google leading the way by encouraging ‘casual collision’ to drive creativity and productivity amongst staff.

The benefits of collaboration are far reaching; team members can help one and other to manage workloads, up-skill and motivate each other. Collaboration also increases investment in their work projects, employee satisfaction and happiness within the workplace.

There are several ways to encourage collaboration in your team, here are a few tips to get you started:

Be a collaborative leader:

Collaboration must be consistent and encouraged, it must come from the top down, so as a manager you need to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. Understand how different personalities work together, you could get your team to take a Myers-Briggs test and share their results.

Cultivate team cohesion

Help individuals to understand the skillsets of their colleagues, so you can map where strengths lie and understand how each person can contribute to the overall good of the team.

Praise both individuals and collaboration

Encourage buy in from each team member by highlighting their contributions and achievements so they feel like a valued team member who wants to actively contribute. Leverage team member strengths, and when recruiting look for employees who add something new to your team and compliment the skills of your existing team members.

Focus on your teams’ strengths

To create a harmonious and responsible team, it’s important to accept imperfection and recognise that nobody is good at everything. Set tasks for each member that suit their strengths and praise on a job done well, this will help to build confidence and instil a ‘can do’ attitude.

Have clear goals in mind and communicate

Agree team goals and objectives, have a clear vision and allow team members to contribute what they think success should look like, allow their opinion to be considered and valued. Encourage open communication with regular team huddles and collaborative working spaces.

Get social

Encourage team bonding and social activities – it is great for your team to get to know one and other, so they can view their colleagues as people. Social activities encourage open communication and helps team members to feel more at ease collaborating with each other.

Remove competition

If team members feel like they are competing for the ‘top spot’ they will be less likely to give up time to aid their colleagues. A selfless work ethic and empathy toward others needs to be encouraged. Encourage honesty and model behaviour that allows for apologies and forgiveness – we’re all human at the end of the day.

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