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Unify Your Team With These Collaborative Practices

Activist Helen Keller stated, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Business leaders can take their companies much farther with a team that operates as a cohesive unit using these tips.

Foster Open and Effective Communication

Regular meetings do not equate to open communication. One study reports that 74% of employees feel they miss out on company news. Team members must see good communication practices modeled by company leadership. Openness begins with being a good listener and observer. Ask questions that encourage honest feedback and thank the person for their thoughts. Track how well the team interacts to identify areas for improvement.

Openness is futile if communication isn't effective. Train the team in the value of positive body language. Crossed arms portray defensiveness, and fiddling with a device or paperwork conveys a lack of interest. Arms resting at your side manifest relaxed confidence that puts others at ease. Appropriate eye contact also indicates engagement, and good posture with your head erect adds weight to your message and reassures listeners.

Offer and Encourage Tools That Promote Communication

Collaborative assignments benefit from tools to organize projects and encourage continuous back-and-forth. Major companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple offer cloud storage options where teams can work on documents and spreadsheets simultaneously. Research various communication products to find what works best for your team. Customer relationship management software (CRM) has become indispensable for maintaining client details so the firm can attend to customer needs and present a united front.

Team-building should extend beyond work hours and office walls. Social media makes it easy for everyone to stay current with each other. For example, you could encourage employees to post on Instagram by creating a contest for the best photos or stories. Some folks may be less tech-savvy, so give them tips and tricks on posting. For example, if an image doesn't fit the upload requirements, they can use an online image resizer. They upload a photo and pick an Instagram image type to get the correct size. Then the file can be downloaded to post on a feed.

Reward Collaborative Efforts

Be quick to implement the suggestions of the team and acknowledge the originators. Recognition is a reward in itself and can motivate further collaboration. Set aside time in every team meeting to call out the excellent work. Take special notice when separate departments or divisions cooperate to complete an objective.

Maintain a Balance of Teamwork and Individual Work

Don't be so committed to teamwork that you force people into an uncomfortable spot. Not every assignment benefits from partnership and time for solo work gives individuals a chance to recharge from the interaction. People need time for silent contemplation. Introverted people are drained by too much social interaction, so attend to their needs. Monitor the results of different forms of collaboration and adjust to fit what works best.

Don't Hesitate to Cut Negative Influences

Some may refuse to adopt communication skills. As you absorb the facts from employees, identify uncooperative players. Thoughtfully discuss the matter while endeavoring to keep a person at all reasonable costs, but do not compromise on the firm's vision and standards.

If a person, through words, action, or inaction, will not maintain the standard of respect and collaboration, decide it's better to part ways. Employ team members at will, understanding that an unproductive business is unacceptable for everyone.

A united team joyfully reaches goals and swiftly achieves the company mission. Apply these tips to get improved collaboration in your business.

Contributed by Emma Grace Brown

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