Let’s suppose there are two teams.
One team is highly focused on the goal, and they work together with that goal in mind. While each individual has unique and diverse strengths, they collaborate well on initiatives, each contributing their respective talents to the projects at hand.
The other team has ambiguous goals, and on most days, there is in-fighting and bickering. They tend to work in cliques (small, exclusive groups) or silos (alone). They, too, have strengths, and so they work in those strengths, but they do not share their ideas or strengths with others on the team.
Which group will actually reach the goal?
It is easy to see the collaborative team has clear competitive advantage.
As a leader, you actually can predict outcomes for your business based on the level of collaboration you see in your workplace.
If your team is divided, you have a problem.
And in the business world today, this is not uncommon.
How can you turn this around?
Share the vision.
It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. While it is a hard pill to swallow, we as leaders must first ask ourselves if we are part of the problem. And a key starting point is clarity. Are you, as a leader, clear on the vision of your company? Have you shared that vision with your team? The fact is, if you can get your team to see the vision with you and know they are a valued part in making it happen, you begin to create the focus factor your team needs.
Set specific goals.
Are your company goals specific and tangible, or do they sound like generalized New Year’s resolutions? We all know what happens with those. The value of setting specific goals – one to five main goals per quarter, for example, that are measurable – is that you will then be able to break those down in to actionable steps. You and your team will be able to see progress toward a tangible end. And, by the way, don’t neglect to celebrate when goals are completed.
Create a system.
Many leaders share the vision, and some are great at setting specific goals. But they drop the proverbial ball on systems. Does your team have a centralized way of capturing ideas and determining actions? Is there a document center? Are there clear policies and procedures? Are roles clearly defined in writing? Where systems break down, chaos begins to ensue, and teams begin to reflect that chaos in their behavior.
As leaders, we are not only responsible for creating solid teams, sharing vision, and setting goals, we are also responsible for holding each person accountable to the work. It may be easier to “let things slide” in order to avoid confrontation, but doing so weakens your leadership and the effectiveness of your organization. Accept the responsibility that there will be times when you, as a leader, must do the hard task of holding someone accountable. In the end, after they have found success, they will thank you for it.
Match strengths to work.
Often, the reason teams don’t work together well is because there are mismatches of strengths to work. If you have someone who is great at spreadsheets and analysis assigned to a people-intensive job, they will feel the tension. And when they feel the tension, the whole team expresses that tension. Consider reassigning team members to their best roles. This will not only help the team dynamics; it can also increase employee satisfaction and productivity to an exponential degree.
If your team is not working well together, run through this checklist to determine the root causes. The result is worth the effort. A collaborative team is a key advantage in the workplace, and you, as a leader, have the power and responsibility to create that kind of team.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.
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