Working with a team is inevitable in most work environments, but it isn’t always a puppies and roses experience. You may find yourself getting frustrated with certain team members who have very different working styles, or groups who just can’t seem to agree on the direction of a project. This means you need to get your team to “stop, collaborate, and listen.” We hate to say it, but Vanilla Ice knew what he was talking about.
Collaboration between team members can make or break a company. If you have a boss who is overly “bossy” or disengaged team members, you are in for a world of hurt. Do you find yourself saying, “Oh no, that sounds like my company?” If so, follow these four tips to help you overcome collaboration problems.
1. Drop all titles.
When your organization has a lot of leaders, you start to run into “title” battles. No one wants to listen to what needs to be done and everyone is delegating. Let there be one leader, who guides but doesn’t dictate, and many team members who are on the same playing field.
Consider switching up your leaders for different projects. Even if someone doesn’t have “Director” in their title, they may have unique skills that would make them an ideal leader for a certain project, and they’ll likely appreciate the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.
2. Remember that any idea is a good idea.
Don’t stifle an individual’s creativity by shooting down their idea before giving it a fair evaluation. Accept all ideas and then determine which ones align with the current project. Keep the other ideas in a vault to pull out later when needed. Never tell someone their idea is bad; that’s a surefire way to stomp out any future input that an individual may have. And you sound like a jerk. Accept their idea, even if you don’t immediately see how it will pan out, and move on.
3. Keep teams small and efficient.
Does the term “two heads are better than one” ring a bell? It should. Your team will likely consist of a few more than two heads, but keep the group relatively small. When you get too many heads involved on a project, you run the risk of leaving individuals out, having competing priorities, or even just having trouble finding a time when everyone can meet. Keep project groups small and intimate to reduce collaboration problems.
4. Organize all that knowledge.
That’s right. You need a quick, efficient, easy-to-use knowledge sharing tool. You have all of these great ideas, documents full of valuable content, and other forms of information you need to store and share with your team. Store all this information in a centralized place where everyone feels like they can contribute and ask questions without hierarchical boundaries. Hint: Try Bloomfire.
Lets recap what you learned about eliminating collaboration problems within your company. First, you minimize the importance of titles and give different people the chance to act as the lead for different projects. Second, don’t be a jerk; accept all ideas with an open mind. Third, create a small and efficient team. Lastly, find the perfect knowledge sharing and collaboration tool for your team.