So many benefits can flow from working together within an organization rather than remaining isolated in silos. Collaboration can help yield fresh ideas, greater efficiency and more productivity. In turn, this can maximize your startup's working capital and free up additional cash flow.
Collaboration may not come naturally to everyone, especially in newer organizations that haven't yet developed a culture. Indeed, it requires effort on the part of both the company as well as individuals to identify and nurture the behaviors and habits that define a collaborative culture.
To help advance collaboration at your company, focus on developing these four habits, as well as encouraging wider adoption of these habits within the organization.
1. Adopt a helpful mindset.
As the company's leader, you should emphasize the benefits of developing a mindset centered on helping others and how that mindset helps individuals achieve their goals. When everyone pitches in to help everyone else, it not only helps lighten the load for all but also fills in skills or knowledge gaps to get the job done.
As a leader, you can help encourage this in your team by rolling up your own sleeves and working on projects alongside your employees. You can also present opportunities that involve social good, such as a volunteer project outside of the organization, where the team can focus on helping others. The key is to engage in actions that illustrate the benefits of the collaborative, helpful mindset.
2. Encourage independence and intrinsic motivation.
Micromanaging employees makes them feel not trusted and anxious, as if the boss is watching their every move. Rather than falling prey to that habit, encourage greater individual and team independence.
To develop this strategy for yourself as leader and encourage it in your team, consciously practice the art of delegation. If you let team members act on their own as self-starters, it shows you trust them with important tasks. It sends the message that you're open to collaborating with them. It may even show employees they can collaborate with each other by sharing duties and tasks.
Plan specific times to check in on these projects, which also lets your team know that you won't be asking about progress every day. It also helps to communicate that you want them to work together and get things done as a team. You can specify those tasks that may need approvals or suggest they ask questions if they are unsure. Otherwise, hand over the reins entirely and let them figure it out.
3. Give your employees a voice, and really listen to them.
Giving employees an opportunity to provide input in a supportive setting encourages open communication and better collaboration.
There are many approaches to giving your team a voice. On an interpersonal level, you can meet with them to get their individual opinions, which demonstrates your keen interest in their ideas about the company. If you have a larger company base or remote staff, you can also conduct an in-depth survey to collect their opinions and thoughts.
On an ongoing basis, you can ask for regular feedback on projects that are in progress by giving them the floor at meetings or video conferences. As an added benefit, you'll spot employees ready to develop their thought leadership in the industry.
As the company's leader, you should emphasize the benefits of developing a mindset centered on helping others and how that mindset helps individuals achieve their goals.
When you actively listen to your workers, you're encouraging a sense of pride and ownership in the resulting work. Employees who see that their feedback counts generally have a greater desire to achieve something for the team.
4. Provide the necessary tools, resources and training.
If you want your team to produce the best results, you'll need to provide them with the most appropriate tools, resources and training. Properly equipping your team can help make employees feel more valued. In turn, that helps them to adopt that self-starting, independent approach to collaboration.
To inspire this habit, it's important to maintain a belief in the value of ongoing learning and skills development. From there, develop a strategy and budget that drive ongoing investment in resources which align with strategic initiatives and maximize the power of collaboration.
Start with technology platforms that support and encourage collaboration, such as cloud-based project management, communication, calendar and scheduling tasks. These platforms make it easier for teams to work together. When it only takes seconds to share files, information, updates and answers, your team members can work more efficiently and productively to achieve your business goals.
Channel resources and online courses towards everyone's professional development. This should include materials that focus on optimizing employee performance as part of a team, enhancing creativity and expanding technical skills. Courses in diversity and inclusion training can also illustrate how much you value collaboration to your team.
Cultivating these habits help make employees feel supported. In turn, they can feel more motivated to collaborate. The result nurtures this culture of collaboration and helps achieve business goals.
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