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How To Unleash the Full Power of Your Team

July 14, 2016

by Jessica Taylor, Food and Food Systems, Bioenterprise Corporation

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You aren’t unleashing the full potential of your team until they are collaborating.  Collaboration isn’t just another 21st century buzzword; it is an integral part of all successful teams. Collaboration in the workplace allows for new, innovative, and creative solutions to problems.

But how is effective collaboration achieved? How do we avoid working in silos with individual roles and responsibilities?

It is important to recognize that forced collaboration can actually prove to be more detrimental than no collaboration at all. Collaboration should be built into your company culture and processes. Consider the following as you work on fostering collaboration in your organization:

Clear, Open Communication

Management teams must clearly communicate their company goals and mission. When employees understand the bigger picture goals and how they impact their individual role, they will naturally identify areas of collaboration with other team members. It is also important that lines of communication are open and welcoming to ensure all members of the team feel comfortable to interact.

Recognition of Individual and Team Success

Historically, workplace recognition involved promotions, salary increases and bonuses. While all of these incentives can motivate employees, it is equally important that effort is acknowledged in alternative and less formal ways.  These types of recognition create a sense of comfort and confidence within a role and encourage employees to share their ideas and questions with others.

For example, creating interdisciplinary task forces or teams to strategize and provide solutions to ongoing issues, implementing employees’ ideas or having them take the lead on a project, activity or meeting are all ways to empower your workforce.  Be sure to emphasize individual successes as well and promote the benefits and outcomes of working as a team. This will empower the team with the confidence to engage with both internal and external stakeholders

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Cohesion & Understanding

Everybody thinks differently, works differently and approaches problems from a different angle. Getting to know how each of your team members prefers to work and communicate enables you to work together efficiently. 

Where possible, include as many team members as possible in ongoing conversations. Not only does this allow you to get multiple perspectives, but it also demonstrates your understanding of your colleagues’ strengths. Frequent conversations around workflow and goals, both team and individual, helps the group stay on task and avoids duplication of effort. Another way to build cohesion is making time to learn about your colleagues’ roles and projects. This helps to create a better understanding of your workforce and allows you to identify ways you can collaborate.

Atmosphere

Get together and talk. Hosting both formal and informal brainstorming sessions on a regular basis gets people thinking outside of the box and encourages creativity.  A sense of community and support goes a long way in encouraging people to work together.

Be open-minded. Don’t let your colleagues department, job title or educational background decide whether or not they should be involved in a conversation or project. Their ideas and experiences will provide valuable input.

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Bridge Geographic Gaps

With employees situated in various locations locally or internationally, companies need to be flexible and creative in collaborative efforts. Making use of technologies such as online project management tools, document sharing, and instant messaging platforms allows even the most geographically dispersed teams to work together effectively. It is also important to include human interaction via videoconferences, phone calls and face-to-face interactions as often as possible. Water cooler conversations are few and far between with groups outside your office so you need to ensure that there are other open and active lines of communication.

These considerations aren’t just for the CEO or managers. As an employee, you are a member of a team. Empowering your colleagues to work together is important for the success of the company and your own professional goals. Not only will you reap the benefits of collaboration as you find unique, effective solutions for your own projects, you will also be participating in a dynamic process, a process that will increase company productivity and success.


Jessica Taylor is the Senior Analyst of Food and Food Systems at Bioenterprise Corporation