If your business wants to take communication and performance to the next level, improving workplace collaboration will do the trick. The more in-sync your employees are, the more efficiently and productively each employee will work, and the more your team will be able to accomplish.
Collaboration essentially means that your employees are working together to strategize and accomplish goals for the benefit of the entire organization. Companies can achieve effective collaboration whether their teams are working in real-time together (synchronous) or distributed across different time zones or shifts (asynchronous).
Below, Professionalist shares seven proven tactics for boosting workplace collaboration. And we’ll even discuss how you can become a better business leader!
1. Cultivate Open Communication
Your business team cannot operate effectively without everyone maintaining an open line of communication. Your managers must feel respected and your employees must be comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. Maintaining open communication will require you to learn how to manage conflict among workers.
In any conflict, both parties should have a platform to express their points of view, and leaders and employees should conduct a meeting to decide the best steps for resolving the conflict. Even if there are awkward moments, prioritizing open communication and conflict resolution will take your team collaboration to new heights.
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2. Foster a Supportive Environment
Open communication is an excellent first step to better collaboration among your team. But it’s also important to support one another’s ideas instead of just listening to them.
For example, if an employee has an excellent idea for improving workflows or a new product, commit time and resources to devising a plan around the idea. And even if a team member brings an incomplete idea to the table, ask others for input to see if you can build something from the idea.
Business teams must foster a supportive environment where team members not only trust each other but also feed off of each other‘s inspiration. Listen to and support your colleagues.
3. Clearly Communicate Expectations
Every team member must know precisely what their coworkers and leaders expect from them. Some employees may be entirely new to a collaborative work environment and see “collaboration“ the same as working on a school group project.
Regularly share team guidelines, and ensure the expectations are clear for each project and task. Each employee should know their role and understand how important they are to the project and overall success of the organization.
4. Improve Team Workflows
Workflow issues can quickly kill collaboration. You want to ensure that each project moves along smoothly from initiation to completion. Adopting disciplines like business process management (BPM) and incorporating the necessary tools will go a long way in improving your company‘s workflows. But you should also consider your team's document flow.
If your company projects are like most others, they entail creating, sharing, and modifying various documents. It’s essential to have the right tools to keep documents flowing smoothly from one team member to the next. Search “Word to PDF online converter” online to find software that will allow you to create documents in Microsoft Word and quickly convert them into PDF format.
Many workers prefer the capabilities of word processors when creating and editing documents. When using a conversion tool, you simply create your document, upload it into the tool, convert it, and save it in PDF format.
5. Use Up-to-Date Tools, Software & Equipment
Many digital technologies on the market can help your team work more productively and collaborate more effectively day in and day out. But it’s essential that your team uses up-to-date tools so your rivals don’t surpass you.
For example, you can work on an online collaboration platform to communicate with your team members and collaborate on projects. The right collaboration software will allow you to share documents, find and update information, send and receive messages, ask questions, make notes, and much more. Just be sure to regularly update your software and be willing to switch to a different platform if it will help your company reach its goals.
6. Being the Leader Your Team Needs
If you’re going to be a beloved and consequential leader, you must live out what you are asking others to do. Always be cooperative with your colleagues — in and out of the workplace. And make sure you are willing and able to demonstrate how to do most of the tasks you’re assigning to your team members.
It’s also critical to spend one-on-one time with each employee. This will give you a platform for meaningful dialogue, getting to know each other, and brainstorming solutions for challenges. Plus, some employees may feel more comfortable asking for support or making requests when it’s just you and them. Lead by example and be approachable.
7. Approach Failure Differently
If you and your team operate out of a fear of failure, you will always be limited in what you can achieve. Every business team makes mistakes. And the more you seek to innovate, the more mistakes you will see.
How you respond to mistakes is what’s important. Don’t be harsh or overly critical when a team member takes a wrong step or the organization as a whole experiences a setback. Use such situations as an opportunity to analyze what went wrong and improve your processes for the future.
No company can flourish in this day and age without effective collaboration. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of strategies your team can implement for better collaboration and communication. You just have to be willing to make the necessary changes. Remember the tactics above for cultivating team collaboration, and remain open to other ways to move your team in the right direction.
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