Every successful organization depends on the productivity of various departments and teams to achieve its overall mission and goals. But being a part of a team doesn’t mean teamwork happens naturally.
For departments and teams to be efficient everyone needs to work together to execute and finish projects and goals. And yet the reality is that, more often than not, employees find it challenging to collaborate and work together with ease and balance.
Imbalance across departments is often found when a common goal can’t be set, groups can’t get along, or worse, individual team members are not engaged with their work. This is an opportunity for strong leaders to step in and step up to encourage and build collaboration across their teams.
Effective collaboration across an organization:
- Leads to good decisions that benefit both the departments and the company.
- Promotes learning and communication through an open exchange of information.
- Encourages individuals and teams working together to address all concerns and identify a solution they can commit to.
- Helps to build trust and strengthen relationships within teams and across departments.
Strong communication among team members is a must-have for a great company culture, and it’s one of the first things that can go wrong. Effective speaking and listening to one another are key to conveying job information, making people feel valued, and working through problems.
Thomas Edison explained, “We have but two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak.” There is a lot to be gained by practicing this kind of thinking.
Steps For Developing Behaviors That Lead to Great Collaboration
As leaders here are a few simple steps below you can take to develop specific behaviors that will lead to positive outcomes for greater collaboration.
- Use “we” language to create a collaborative environment. This helps by not putting blame on any person or team, but instead, focusing on solving a joint problem that you can resolve together.
- Set the right tone for bringing up issues and do it in a way that doesn’t come across as being competitive. Be sure to confer with other department leaders for a good time to discuss issues or projects. You may be eager to jump in but be respectful of schedules for other departments.
- Work to understand the concerns across departments. Create a safe environment to share and brainstorm ideas that would satisfy any concerns and move forward with the best solution.
- Build Strong One-on-One Relationships. Build relationships with each of your coworkers separate from the team so you know how to support them individually.
- Create Collaborative Goals. While this requires extra planning, having agreed-upon goals by all groups involved will deliver the best results.
- Celebrate Your Team Successes. Never forget to congratulate your teams and departments when targets or project goals are met. For big wins, consider taking the department teams out to lunch or dinner or write handwritten notes thanking them for their individual contributions to collaboration and teaming.
Listen To Your People
Increasingly teams and departments are working across a hybrid remote and in-office environment which can have a significant impact on collaboration. Leading teams that are both remote and in-person works best when remote workers are encouraged to see and interact with the larger department teams to strengthen collaboration and bonding.
When people feel their voice is valued, they are more engaged, more creative, more receptive to ideas, and more likely to bring great ideas to the company. Collaboration becomes the norm across the organization.
Author and culture expert Kim Scott has shared, “If you can build a culture where people listen to one another, they will start to fix things you as the leader never even knew were broken.”