To be on a team can have its own positives and negatives that may affect you personally. The effect can be psychological, emotional, physical or social. Team collaboration is one way to identify either good or bad inner self of you. So, I remember writing on a similar topic on my personal blog http://doforsuccess.com
The discussion was so great that after the debate and agree to disagree enjoying opinions, everyone had the chance to learn the importance to be on a team. So I have taken the opportunity to share with you here some of the ideas we came about on my blog for the benefit of assembi.com readers to know the five tips to improve team collaboration.
1. Evaluate why it isn’t working.
It may be trust, chemistry, competitiveness or something else. But you can’t fix what’s the matter if you don’t get to the heart of the matter. Start by surveying team members—asking is the best way to get direct responses and make them feel like their perceptions and opinions are important. Then step back and observe the team in action in a particular setting, and as their leader, come to your own conclusion. If you are not involved directly in the conflict and can take an observer’s view, it usually isn’t hard to see what the problem is.
2. Observe and model best practices.
If the company culture dictates strong teams, take a look at the organization and see who else is doing it well. Talk to other managers about team dynamics, how they get people to collaborate and the behaviors they encourage. And make sure that you return the favor, sharing your own best practices and lessons learned. Don’t forget to look outside your company as well, talking with colleagues and mentors. You’d be surprised at how similar situations seem to come up across industries.
3. Understand the norms of a successful team in your culture.
There are probably some ground rules around what constitutes a great team at your company, and you need to identify what those are. If the team is all about working hard and playing hard, yet you have team members who prefer not to play hard with the people they work with, that is going to upset the team dynamic. If one person consistently ducks out on that beer with colleagues at the end of the workday, try to assess why. Missing out on that little piece of team building actually affects a lot more than you may think. Make sure employees are not so focused on the work that they neglect developing the cultural aspects of the team.
4. Consider how important a team really is.
If it’s just for show, rethink why you even need to have a collaborative team. There are situations where teams can work loosely and goals are still accomplished, sometimes more effectively than they would be without all the cooks in the kitchen. Not everything has to be team-focused, and if a particular initiative doesn’t need to be, don’t try to force collaboration for the sake of it.
5. Get out of the office.
Companies participate in offsite team-building activities all the time—because they actually work. These kinds of situations allow people to experience colleagues as humans instead of simply co-workers, uncovering life details that aren’t revealed during a normal workday. It gives teams a different way to connect and maybe build a little more chemistry and rapport. And experiential learning exercises have a way of revealing team dynamics that can then be examined and discussed.
6. Nail down the detractor.
If there is one particular cynic, take that person aside and discover why there is conflict, too much independent work or general derailing of teamwork. Depending on personality, you can either be very direct here or ask a series of “why” questions to get to the bottom of the situation.
7. Create accountability around team performance, not just individual performance.
This helps draw out the lone ranger and forces the team the work collaboratively toward common goals. If one person isn’t participating as a team member, the others won’t carry that person and a shift will start to take place.
8. Check inconsistently.
Have a formal check in periodically, once a month or once per quarter. If you’re repairing a team, check in to make sure things are on track and to gain a better understanding of what’s working, what isn’t and what needs to be adjusted. If you start the teamwork ball rolling but then neglect the process, any progress you’ve made will quickly evaporate.
If teams are important for your organization, you need to do what you can to facilitate their effectiveness. Make sure open communication exists. Create opportunities for all voices to be heard. Connect with the shared values that unite the team. Finally, instill pride in the members that a high performing team can be as or more powerful than an individual superior performer.