Our world often seems to be driven by individual accomplishments and building our personal skills, but the truth is that nothing happens without a team.
Imagine a racetrack pit crew with only one member. Or a band with a single instrument. It would never work! A team that collaborates effectively can create something that no individual member could have done on their own.
It’s vital to have strong, cohesive teams within your organization. As a leader, how can you build relationships among your team members and encourage collaboration in ways that are genuine and not overused? Here are some strategies to try.
Get to Know Each Individual
People are unique, and each employee brings a specific set of skills and experiences to your team. By getting to know each team member individually, you’ll be better able to understand how they can fit into the team as a whole.
One way to understand someone is to use personality tests like the Enneagram test or the Myers-Briggs Types Indicator (MBTI). You’ll gain valuable insight into how the other person thinks, works, and what they hold to be important.
Getting to know your team members is an ongoing process, so be sure to keep open communication and hold regular one-on-one meetings with each employee.
Find Ways to Boost Morale
A team with high morale is going to perform better and collaborate more effectively, whereas low morale causes lower productivity and higher turnover.
Fortunately, as a manager, you have a significant impact on boosting team morale. Avoid micromanagement and playing favorites, which can cause your employees to get frustrated and discouraged. Instead, focus on giving regular feedback and encouraging connections within the team. It’s also important to ensure everyone has a voice in projects, even if you aren’t able to act on every suggestion.
Investing time in building morale will pay off significantly in better participation, more creativity, and improved project outcomes.
Ensure Your Team is Diverse and Inclusive
Every team has things the members have in common and things that make each individual unique. By highlighting both, you can create a team that recognizes commonalities while also celebrating differences.
It can be challenging to manage a team that has a lot of diversity of thought, such as unique personalities or multiple generations. However, those teams will have more creativity and outside-the-box thinking, which can be a huge benefit to your organization.
Think about how you can highlight commonalities on your team while celebrating differences. For example, you might have each team member list five touchpoint memories from their childhood, and discover where people have similar and different experiences. You can also have team members share about cultural celebrations that are important to them.
Harnessing a diverse and inclusive team will give you powerful creativity while helping everyone realize they are part of a larger community. It’s worth the effort!
Build Strong Collaboration to Attract and Retain Top Talent
People want to feel like their work matters and that they make a difference to the organization. When you foster strong relationships among team members and build solid collaboration processes, employees will realize that their skills and talents are vital to the team.
Improving collaboration is a big part of workforce optimization. Alongside increasing productivity, WFO involves updating processes and policies to prioritize collaboration on all levels. Empower your team to succeed through constant communication about updates as well as project management software that is easy for everyone to use.
You can improve collaboration by encouraging judgment-free sharing of ideas, being open about company goals, and helping employees communicate both within the team and across departments. These steps will help your team members make a bigger impact with their work, which will help them stay engaged and focused.
It’s not easy to attract and retain top talent. Companies need to have excellent benefits, make good use of technology, and most importantly, build a strong culture within the organization. As a manager who creates a culture of teamwork and collaboration, you’re helping your company compete for the best employees both locally and around the world.
Avoid Ineffective Team Building Exercises
A quick search for “team building exercises” turns up hundreds of suggestions, but it’s important to remember that a lot of traditional team building is no longer effective.
Some team building exercises don’t take into account that some employees don’t enjoy sharing personal stories with colleagues, for example. Or the activity might exclude those who aren’t physically fit. Other times, team-building exercises are too “hokey” and feel forced.
Worst of all, the team building doesn’t seem to translate back to the office — you still see the same cliques and conflicts you had before.
Fortunately, there are team-building activities that are effective, but you have to plan them with your team instead of for your team. Find the things they enjoy, and tailor the activities to fit the personalities in your group.
For example, it might be helpful to do a personality test and share the results so that employees get a better sense of how their colleagues think and operate. It can help generate discussion about everything from communication to problem-solving.
Board games can help colleagues bond over non-work tasks while still having fun. If your team enjoys activities like scavenger hunts, that’s another great team-building activity.
Be creative and think about what your team members will actually enjoy, and you’ll have a team-building experience that will boost morale, collaboration, and connections within your team.
Encourage Communication Both In Person and Remotely
Good communication is more than just having the ability to send an email. It’s a skill that takes work so that you develop the ability to say the right thing in the right way. Even more importantly, you learn to actively listen to others.
By encouraging communication skills within your team, you’ll strengthen their bonds and help them collaborate more effectively. This can range from encouraging team chats to setting limits on who is copied on emails.
It’s important to think about both in-person employees and remote team members. If communication isn’t strong, remote workers can feel disconnected from their coworkers and managers. Be sure you spend as much time coaching remote team members as in-person ones, and create team-building activities that include everyone.
By creating solid strategies and helping everyone on the team learn and practice communication skills, you can help everyone feel more comfortable together, minimize misunderstandings, and keep work moving smoothly from day to day.
Collaboration Is Essential for Success
In today’s competitive marketplace, you not only need to have strong teams to help the organization succeed. You also need to have a strong team culture to attract and retain talented employees.
By using these strategies to cultivate collaboration and build strong relationships among your employees, you’ll be able to set your team and organization up for success.
⸻ Author Bio ⸻
Sam Bowman enjoys writing about people, tech, business, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.