Four Steps to Building a Collaborative Team

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In my previous post titled “Staying Relevant within Disruptive Industry Change”, I talked about the importance of encouraging team members to share ideas and knowledge. How can you establish an environment where this happens naturally, all the time? Where ongoing collaboration is as normal and happens as frequently as trips to the candy jar on Heather’s desk?

1. ASK FOR INPUT

Make sure you are asking your team members for input, ideas, and feedback – regularly! If you aren’t asking then you aren’t creating opportunities for collaboration to happen – and it typically won’t.

2. PROMOTE LEARNING

Make a commitment to providing time for ongoing professional development. Encourage team members to read industry blogs or articles online on a regular basis to keep up with the latest trends, opportunities, and ideas. Do this even if it takes away from production time. It is critical for long-term company success.

3. SHARE KNOWLEDGE

Encourage team members to share what they are reading or thinking about – or to work with another team member to put a new idea into practice. Share articles you find with your team members and soon they will be sharing the articles they are reading with other team members. Never allow silos of expertise on your team – make sure cross training is happening whenever possible.

4. TRUST YOUR TEAM

If you are a leader who is putting the last three points into action on a consistent basis, then your next job is to let go and get comfortable with the fact that your team members may end up knowing more than you. The worst thing you can do after putting the first three items into practice is to never really act or allow your team members to run with their ideas. This takes trust and a great deal of humility. If you have pulled this off, congratulations – you are an effective leader!

Do these four things and you will be amazed at the natural collaboration that starts to happen spontaneously, transforming your company and taking it to the next level.

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