Smart ways to build a collaborative teamChen Wan Lim
Collaboration, teamwork and team cohesion are the recurring themes in today’s business world. CEOs all around the world rely on an effective team to plan and execute company plans to achieve set targets. This is also one of the many reasons why more and more corporate executives are pursuing MBAs and Master’s degree, all in hopes of returning with the Holy Grail in management. Similar to The Avengers and X-men, a collaborative team is exemplified by harnessing individual talents and using it as a team. Here are some smart ways managers can build a collaborative team:
- Setting expectations
There are three types of expectations that need to be set to build a collaborative team. The first is what is expected from every individual of the team. This encompasses each person’s responsibilities and expected contribution to the team. The second is what is expected of the team in terms of how to work with each other to achieve a goal. The third is the expected performance that is required of the team in terms of deliverables and results.
- Appoint a team leader
A ship cannot be without a captain and a team cannot be without a leader. A leader needs to be appointed in a collaborative team to coordinate the team members, to organise the tasks and to ensure that the end goal is always kept in the team’s focus. The appointed leader does not need to be the person with the most experience or be the most technically sound person. Rather, the appointed leader needs to be able to command respect and to muster his/her team.
- Getting to know you and getting to know me
To work comfortably with the person beside you, it wouldn’t hurt to know the person just a little bit more intimately. Get professional consultants to run a personality test on each team member. This way, everyone will know their own strengths and weaknesses along with personal traits. It helps to know how your team member will most likely react to different situations. By knowing an individual’s personal characteristics, team leaders can best utilise individual skill sets and to further enhance it with the strengths of other team members.
- Properly define the sticks and carrots
One of the core motivations to get people to work together is show them what lies ahead at the end of the tunnel. Communicate the rewards that await the team upon successful completion of a task or project. This could either be monetary or non-monetary rewards. When people know what to aim for, they will be more motivated to work together to achieve it.
- Promoting transparency
A condition that is most conducive for collaborative behaviour is one where trust is not a concern and where actions and decisions are transparent. An effective collaborative team should not be concerned with bureaucracy, titles, positions and certainly not with what each team member is doing and if the amount of work distribution is fair. A team leader’s job is to ensure that every member does his/her job according to each individual’s skill sets. Individual contributions should be credited accordingly and team victories should be celebrated collectively.