Productive Collaboration

The most successful work environments are those where collaboration is facilitated among team members. It promotes out of the box thinking, improves employee retention, and helps discover viable solutions to long-standing problems. When teammates and colleagues are able to work together to achieve common goals, amazing things can happen. And when collaboration sessions are scheduled, an agenda provided in advance, and discussion notes documented for all to see in the moment, it makes the collaboration much more productive.

In order to facilitate this type of interaction, you need to keep two main points in mind: (1) communicate with empathy and (2) build trust among the team. Showing empathy is the act of acknowledging and understanding the perspective of another person. When empathetic communication techniques are utilized, employees feel that their opinions are valued. You can use teh recapping technique such as “So what I hear you saying is ….. is this correct?”. This technique helps them to feel heard and safe opening up and participating in difficult conversations.

As the team leader, your job is to facilitate trust among the team. You need to earn the trust, while also showing how trust allows everyone to remain engaged and productive. A great start to building trust is having the team complete a DISC Wiley Team assessment with a specialist. This specialist knows how to interpret the data and share the findings tactfully. Assessments, such as these, can quickly identify dysfunctions and preferred styles of communication among the team. Once you illuminate the level of trust and communication styles, you can more effectively guide the team through more productive meetings, build empathy, encourage safe and open collaboration, and start to hold everyone accountable

A great way to improve your collaboration skills is to create and use a standard meeting agenda template and read Dare to Lead by Brené Brown and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. These pieces of literature will share techniques to become a better facilitator of collaborative work. You can take it a step further and ask the team to read the book and share their top 3 take away’s with everyone else. 

Benefits

A productive workplace needs to more than a group of individuals working in the same office. Beneficial things happen when team members are encouraged to come together, trust each other, and contribute their unique talents to the group, including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Higher-level, creative thinking
  • Innovation in the workplace
  • Employee retention
  • Creation of a positive, inclusive company culture
  • Effortless buy-in from staff

Collaboration Mantras

Download the set of expectations and input them into your team meeting agendas. You want to continually remind everyone that you encourage collaboration and want to be held accountable to doing so. 

Exercise

This exercise teaches you how to solve a company-wide problem with input from team members using a collaboration technique known as Question-Bursting. This involves getting comfortable with asking more questions rather than jumping to the answers. It opens the door to the collaborative process and builds trust among the team. The more often the team is able to meet, the quicker these bonds of trust will be made.

Reflect and Prioritize

Trust is the building block of productive collaboration. A team must be shown that their opinion is heard and valued for them to partake in the collaborative process and feel engaged. It is truly amazing to experience the benefits of having empathy, building trust, and productively collaborating. If nothing else, you will have that ah-ha moment that reminds you why you wanted to build a thriving business with a great team to carry it into the future. 

Please remember to add any new epiphanies and ideas to your Master Plan of Ideas and Initiatives.