Everyone who has ever worked on a team will agree that the key ingredient to a successful team is collaboration, yet few have a thorough understanding of what this entails. Collaboration is a team’s ability to interact efficiently and work towards achieving a common goal. However, numerous studies show that without openness, any opportunity for collaboration will be lost, and the team will fail.
What’s the best way to create a sense of openness within your team? Consider the following tips:
Open Communication is Key
Open communication is not limited to your organizational hierarchy or a set team meeting. Team members should have access to opportunities and resources to communicate whenever and wherever it’s necessary. One way to create an open communication dynamic is for yourself and your team to familiarize yourselves with Tuckman’s Team Development Model. Assess what stage your team is at, and proceed from there.
Actively Listen to Team Members
While many of us hear what others are saying, we rarely truly listen. By encouraging team members to listen to one another and acknowledge understanding of their peers’ ideas, you’re facilitating improved productivity in all relevant processes. If your company employs remote workers, always make them feel as if they are in the room with the rest of your team to help encourage effective participation.
Establish Transparency Across All Operations
Transparency in your business practices is one of the shortest paths towards creating an open and supportive workplace. Before team members can trust one another, they need to be able to trust that the company’s mission, vision, and values are in line with their own. Not only will this improve collaboration within your team, but it also encourages accountability for every action taken.
Turn Failures into Learning Opportunities
The largest setback for many a team is the fear of failure, which often stems from leaders who focus on the here and now rather than the big picture. Remember, there is no innovation without risk. The simplest way to get this message across is to openly encourage risk-taking within your team. Although not all risks lead to rewards, allowing your team members to implement their own personal touch in company operations promotes trust and flexibility in the workplace.
Plan Regular Team-Building Exercises
At the end of the day, a team is a group of human beings who must feel comfortable to step outside of their respective comfort zones to share their ideas with others. In addition to open group discussions, members should be encouraged to grow closer through informal activities, such as lunch outings, to help promote mutual support and trust.
Openness inspires creativity. As Steve Jobs once said, the larger your “bag of experiences,” the more diverse the connections you can make between the ideas set before you. Creating a sense of openness within your team is not only beneficial for the team’s overall performance, but also for each team member’s individual growth and development.
Diana Spektor | Contributing Writer