How to Build a Collaborative Team Environment
Creating the right collaborative environment for a team means paying attention to certain key building blocks. It means harnessing the potential of some great individuals as a team for a common purpose and clear objectives. So what are the magic ingredients that make up a successful team? There are many factors to consider, but the main ones are outlined below.
Add cool office space Many tech companies firmly believe that by building incredible offices and providing great free snacks, meals and drinks, the result is that collaboration thrives. Some even throw in everything from games rooms, quirky seating and work spaces. These examples of collaborative offices spaces in India are pretty impressive. Microsoft is also making great strides to improve collaboration. Its blog reports on two recently refurbished buildings where offices have been abolished, replaced by large shared rooms where employees and executives work together in big shared rooms called ‘neighborhoods.’ Staff can walk “the high-ceilinged hallways and stop for impromptu meetings in angular atriums designed to capture and perpetuate light. They head into large, glass team rooms to collaborate, or into one of the many focus rooms or cozy alcoves for privacy.”
Build some trust Trust is the glue that holds all collaboration together. Without it everything falls apart. Jon Mertz, who writes on Millennial leadership at Thin Difference, outlines these principles to earn trust in collaboration:
Empathy must be evident in individual actions
The group mission must be paramount above the individual objectives
Interdependence will deliver the best results
Progress is linear, non-circular
To find out more on the subject check out our blog 9 Ways to Build Trust Within a Team
Openness and transparency According to the CMO of ExecuNet, Tony Vlahos “a collaborative culture is based on openness, complete transparency, and building trust. It also focuses its energy on the search for solutions to challenges and leveraging opportunities rather than on placing blame or searching for “guilty.” That means sharing information openly, whether it is positive or negative. By doing so companies and teams gain a lot, not least in terms of collaboration.
Set realistic expectations In a collaborative environment, each team member understands their roles and are accountable for the tasks assigned to them. But for that, you need to set expectations clearly so that your team members are aware of their roles in the bigger picture. This also helps individual members to focus on their tasks and goals. Realistic expectations form the foundation of a successful, efficient and flexible team.
Set out the norms Setting down the norms of a new team will help the collaboration process. Among them are:
Communication: Members will respect each other when speaking; will not talk down to each other; will recognize and thank each other for team contributions.
Equality: Every member’s opinion will be considered; each will keep to agreed deadlines.
Interaction: Listen without interrupting; stick to agenda; end meetings on time.
Team problem-solving, conflict resolution, and decision-making: Team members will make decisions by consensus, but majority will rule if timely consensus is not reached.
Takeaway: It’s all about building the right framework for success. If you fail to lay the groundwork don’t be surprised if the team’s efforts fall short.