Collaboration is fundamental to the success of a team. According to a workplace study, 86% of employees think ineffective communication and a lack of collaboration are responsible for workplace failures.
So, how can leaders engender a culture of collaboration in their teams? By establishing leadership habits.
When you have people who are dedicated, communicative, and aligned, you can achieve anything. Therefore, it is imperative that leaders lead by example and instill in their team habits that promote a culture of collaboration.
Which leadership skills help foster collaboration?
By understanding collaboration, you are able to understand the factors that lead to productivity at work. Allow this value to permeate your system to help you manage your team and achieve better results.
Here are eight leadership skills you should consider adopting to enhance the productivity and culture of your team.
- Make Yourself More Accessible
Your team will flourish if they see a leader adopting qualities they want to see in their team. So, if you want a participatory culture at your workplace, you need to make yourself more accessible.
Don’t be afraid to spend time with them, say what you think, and offer advice. You must find the right balance between being available and micromanaging.
You promote a culture of help and support among your team when you make an effort to be there for them, which is what collaboration is all about. You can become more involved with your team by developing these leadership skills:
- Become more communicative: Post updates on your progress, take part in brainstorming sessions, share insights you discover, etc.
- Establish a culture of transparency: Create a respectful and open environment. If possible, be as open as possible, as this helps build trust over time
- Show your support: Make sure your team knows you’re there for them when they need your advice on strategies, challenges, or career aspirations
- Provide Information
Make documents the gold standard for your team. It will keep everyone in the loop on projects, decisions, and other important topics. In addition to providing information about projects’ performance, this method will make it easier to access information about past decisions. Moreover, sharing information with the team contributes to transparency and builds trust, which is vital for a collaborative environment.
You can improve information access for the team by:
- Outlining details of your endeavour, including goals, scope, roles, and milestones
- Using communication tools that have public channels and keeping private messages to a minimum
- Sending out meeting minutes after each meeting, which includes decisions and next steps
It’s easier for them to work together in harmony when everything is on the table.
- Facilitate Effective Communication
Communication is the key to collaboration. This is why it’s so important to keep improving the interaction between the team members.
The following are some ways to enhance team communication:
- Set up a collaborative meeting agenda to allow all participants to contribute to meetings
- Utilize project management tools to document and manage projects
- Whenever possible, develop standard operating procedures for workflows and processes
- Engage in active listening. During meetings, encourage closed laptops. Request that everyone use full-screen mode when working remotely.
- Prioritize Recognition
The best collaboration is driven by inspiration. The act of sharing praise enhances team bonds and reinforces positive behaviour. As leaders, we should give employees the recognition they deserve.
You can recognize your employees’ efforts and encourage them to do the same by following these tips:
- Publicly recognize an employee or team’s achievements. This can be accomplished by adding shoutouts to your weekly team meetings or by sending out a note in your company’s communication tool
- Express appreciation privately when meeting with individuals
- Motivate your team to recognize each other. Recognition should not remain the purview of a few
- Encourage An Inclusive Work Environment
In the end, it is the leader’s responsibility to shape the culture of the team. As you define this collaborative team culture, you should incorporate inclusivity. Here are some ways to do so:
- Prioritize psychological well-being
- Listen to people’s suggestions to inspire their creativity
- Invest in diversity and inclusion seminars and workshops for your team
- Lead by example and demonstrate your commitment to these topics
- Encourage Small Talk
Getting to know each other on the team is extremely important. If the only thing they talk about is how projects are going, that’s not going to happen. Taking time to learn about teammates as people first, then as co-workers, is incredibly powerful. People are more likely to collaborate when they feel comfortable with one another.
You should try to find ways to promote conversations that aren’t only about work at every meeting, whether you start off with an ice breaker or initiate small talk with the team. It will not only help you build stronger relationships within your team, but it will also allow you to unleash their full potential.
- Encourage Teamwork
Team-building activities are an excellent way for the team to let off some steam and get to know each other better. Fun activities help create bonds that everyday work cannot.
Create team-building activities for the entire company to allow people to get to know co-workers they typically don’t interact with.
You can do the following team-building activities:
- Organize a trivia night (virtually or in-person)
- Join an intramural team
- Play small party games such as charades
- Take a day off and go out to dinner together
A good leader knows how important it is to build rapport between the team to create a collaborative environment.
- Foster A Culture Of Listening And Talking
A brainstorming session is a fantastic way to align the team on a goal, collect ideas, and think of creative ways to improve the business. Meetings are most productive when the team participates and listens to suggestions.
To foster a collaborative and understanding workplace, you need to focus on two areas.
9. Share the concept of a shared destiny
According to Luke Lee, the CEO of Palaleather, “Challenges and hardships are expected when working in a team. But the workload will be lighter if members have an idea of where they are going.”
Basically, collaborative leaders have the ability to communicate their vision well with their members. The advantage of this is that members will be aware that the smallest and the most menial of things that they for the time will make an impact towards the achievement of the larger goal.
Teams are more democratic today and leaders no longer effectively lead through micromanagement. It will be more helpful, though, for leaders to unify the team towards one goal.
Engage people in conversation:
Speaking up and sharing ideas is natural for some. Other people may not feel the same way. Creating a psychologically safe culture encourages people to share.
Engage people in listening:
Sharing ideas and listening to others is equally important. The best way for leaders to improve their listening is to refrain from answering all the time. Often, it’s more beneficial to let your team take control of the discussion and guide them toward the answer they’re looking for. Don’t forget to nod and respond with eye contact.
In summary, leaders should not overlook the importance of collaboration. When you shy away from communication, teamwork, and honesty, you will not gain more power over team members, but rather, you will lose them.
You can achieve so much more with the power of “we” than with the power of “I”. Therefore, try to adopt the above leadership habits and be more flexible. The collaboration will naturally follow as a result.