Successful collaboration is all about listening, asking, appreciating, and helping others. It is also called “team building!” Aside from the communication barriers that working in a large office can create, not everyone may have the tools to work well together or agree with each other. Poor communication and a lack of collaboration can turn what should be a group effort into the vision of one person in upper management. In the worst-case scenario, a project can be completely derailed by a lack of collaboration.
Whether you’re a part of a Fortune 500 corporation or the owner of a small startup business, you will find that collaboration and communication is essential to your success. Here are some tips that might help ensure that you and your colleagues are on the same page and help your team accomplish your company’s goals.
Earn the Trust of Your Colleagues
One mistake that many office managers make is to expect the trust and respect of their employees as a matter of course. They think that since they’re in charge, and making the decision, their word is to be trusted automatically. Even if you are the boss, acting like this is no way to earn anybody’s trust and respect. You have to walk your talk and demonstrate your trustworthiness. If you want your coworkers to trust and respect you, be personable and friendly to your employees. Make sure that major decisions are transparent and invite feedback from your team. Show them that you care about their opinion and that what they are doing matters. They will be much more likely to listen to you, take risks, and even forgive your mistakes if they trust you.
Be Specific With Your Goals
Being specific when you speak with your colleagues sounds like common sense, but the number of people who fail to get to the point during meetings and in group emails is surprising. Make it very clear what you’re trying to communicate and what your company’s goals are. A straightforward message that is easy to understand is always better than vague language or presentations that take too long to get to the point. Clarify by asking them to repeat it back in their own words.
Keep An Open Mind
Collaboration is all about allowing everyone in a group to contribute their ideas. You may not agree with every idea that gets presented in meetings, but you should at least give the speakers a chance. Even if you think an idea is wrong, discussing it together could put you on the right path.
Check Your Ego
Part of listening to your colleagues and keeping an open mind is checking your ego at the door. One of the worst things you can do is assume that you’re somehow more important than anyone else. If you treat your colleagues and your employees like equals, you will find that they will be more willing to work with you and share their ideas.
In short, the key to effective collaboration is communication and respect. That sounds like it should be obvious, but really taking these lessons to heart goes a long way. Treat your colleagues with respect, listen to what they have to say and understand that what they have to contribute is just as valid as what you have. That is the key to being a great leader and managing an office team that gets results.