April 11, 2021 Collaboration & Creating a Healthy Work ‘Space’
Challenges at work are a given! They can range from managing complicated projects and unrealistic customer demands to dis-engaged team members and unmet goals. Although no two workplaces are the same, they can share common themes around disruptions, both within and outside the teams.
Staying ahead of these disruptions requires several ‘must haves’ in a workplace – one of which is collaboration. Simply put, COLLABORATION refers to the synchronization of team members’ work activities, the company’s processes, and outputs to achieve a common purpose. In our books, success here includes company and individual success.
So, think of it as a well-oiled machine requiring all its part to work together in harmony. When this happens, it’s golden! But when it doesn’t, the machine slows down or stops functioning. In the case of a company, it could mean further disruption, loss of productivity, unsettled customers and a whole bunch of demotivated employees!
And here’s where we can all play a part.
To create a culture of collaboration, team members must be ‘inclusive’ in the way they behave and work with others and focus on opening the communication channels. It doesn’t matter if they’re all in the same office, work remotely, belong to different departments or are dispersed around the world – these principles apply to all these situations. By the way, it requires people at ALL levels to make this happen seamlessly!
A big part of a successful collaboration is to listen actively, clearly communicate messages, ask questions to clarify anything that is unclear, and follow up. Diversity of thought plays a big role. Meaning, team members need to appreciate different approaches to problem solving or varying ideas about how to move forward. Jumping into judging others before exploring suggestions may result in missing out on a better way to work. To take collaboration further – owning one’s mistakes and asking for help is a healthy and respectful way to learn and develop. If we shy away from these conversations, we miss the opportunity to learn and improve our skills.
Engaging in two-way conversations is critical to effectively solving problems and removing barriers to teamwork. Hiding scenarios that prohibit a team to work seamlessly only minimizes the team’s ability to succeed. Being open to helping others and encouraging discussions about the ‘good’ and ‘not-so-good’ issues is a big step towards creating a collaborative work environment. This in turn fosters a healthy and engaging culture. Now, isn’t this something we should all aim for?
We’re Vas and Sobha Nair, two sisters that have lived and breathed all aspects of human resources for over 50 years between us. Giraffe was born from our global experience coaching leaders and business owners navigate the same tricky workplace issues and discussions that you face. We know the best practices and proven processes that help turn workplace conflict on its head – and we want to share all of this and more with you in Giraffe.