Leadership

10 Ways to Create a Collaborative Team At Work

collaborative workplace

 

A successful company is only as good as the team working in it.

Creating a culture of collaboration will propel you toward continuous improvement. 

Beyond that, a company culture that focuses on communication and collaboration is attractive to top-talent.

Not only will it be easier to retain your current employees, but your recruitment and hiring efforts are likely to become easier and more effective. 

Building an innovative and collaborative team culture doesn’t mean turning your business upside down.

There are plenty of practices that can foster this type of environment and make a difference in the atmosphere of your company.

The sooner you start focusing on collaboration, the sooner you’ll see the sparks of greater success start to ignite.

10 Ways To Create a Culture of Collaboration At Work

1. Create the Right Environment

It’s going to be difficult to foster collaboration and innovation if your workplace environment is failing to give its employees what they need.

Take a look at your surroundings. Is everyone in their own cubicle with little room for communication?

Do you provide digital communication software and cloud-based programs that keep everyone on the same page? 

Most importantly, does your team have the freedom to be innovative? 

Some of the best ways to create a culture of innovation within your workplace include: 

  • Breaking down silos and rigid hierarchies
  • Encouraging employees to ask questions
  • Encouraging employees to voice their ideas
  • Keeping communication open
  • Setting objectives
  • Rewarding failures and successes

When your team feels that they have the ability to speak freely and share their ideas with others, the entire environment of your company can change – for the better. 

2. Provide Top-Tier Support

Your team’s success rests on the shoulders of whoever is standing at the top.

If you’re a business owner or manager, that means it’s your responsibility to show support, encourage collaboration, and build social relationships within the workplace. 

Providing adequate support to all of your teams is something they will view as valuable.

Everyone wants to feel seen, heard, understood and appreciated.

Simply providing your encouragement can go a long way in improving company culture. 

3. Make Collaborative Executive Behavior Visible

A good leader leads by example. In addition to showing support to your employees, make sure they see all of your top executives working collaboratively.

Focus on the importance of internal communication. 

Don’t hide behind closed-door meetings and keep everything private.

While there is a time and place for that, your team needs to see that collaborative culture starts from the top.

When they do, your influence will trickle down throughout the workplace. 

4. Foster a Culture of Empathy

Emotional labor has, unfortunately, become normalized in many ways.

Employees are expected to manage their emotions with co-workers and leaders to achieve their career goals.

But, at the end of the day, your team is made up of real people with real emotions, and emotions will always demand to be felt. 

Any type of “acting” in the workplace can lead to extreme burnout and exhaustion. It can also lead to disagreements and resentment within the workplace. 

By fostering a culture of empathy and showing emotional intelligence, you can reduce emotional labor, show your employees you care for their well-being, and create an environment that is calmer and more communicative. 

Some of the best ways to manage emotional labor include: 

  • Supporting your employees’ mental wellness
  • Encouraging self-care routines
  • Learning and teaching communication skills
  • Addressing important boundaries within the workplace

Most importantly, make sure you’re emotionally available for your employees. Check in regularly, and ensure they have what they need to maintain a healthy headspace on the job. 

5. Delegate Responsibilities

Sometimes, communication and collaboration can become stifled when people aren’t fully aware of their roles or expectations.

Others might be perfectionists who want to take control of everything, creating imbalances within your team, as well as tension and confusion. 

As a leader, take the time to delegate responsibilities based on strengths and skills.

Ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them for each project, and who they should be working with to complete everything. 

This simple practice will eliminate confusion and chaos and make it easier for everyone to work together within the scope of their positions.

It will boost collaboration while increasing productivity

6. Create a Reward System

Everyone likes to be rewarded for a job well done.

While creating a “gift culture” might seem simple, it will go a long way in promoting innovation and getting your team excited about success. 

How you choose to reward your team is up to you.

You can reward based on achievement, collaboration, or reaching goals.

Whatever you decide to provide, don’t hesitate to make it as internally public as possible, so other employees are inspired to receive the next reward. 

7. Put the Right People Together

From the people you hire to the teams you put together, people matter when it comes to collaboration. 

Hard skills are important for success and innovation, but soft skills like appreciating others, being able to show empathy, and resolving conflicts are just as crucial for communication and success.

Make sure you’re putting the right people together who will work well as a team, and hiring those who go beyond what their resume says. 

8. Give Good Feedback

Even if you’ve decided against a gift culture within your company, feedback will go a long way in promoting innovation.

Don’t wait until someone does something wrong or gets it perfect before you decide to speak up from a leadership position. 

Regular feedback will encourage your employees to keep working together and focus on their strengths.

Feedback can motivate them to be more innovative so they continue to receive the praise they’re looking for and deserve. 

9. Normalize Failure

No business leader likes to hear the word “failure,” especially when you’re talking about innovative success.

But, seeing failures and setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth will take a lot of pressure off of your employees. 

Creating a culture where failure doesn’t automatically mean someone loses their job or a project gets scraped can spark innovation, motivation, and collaboration.

Being afraid of failure will impede your employees from taking risks that could end up being rewards. 

10. Build Team Bonds

All work and no play isn’t going to help anyone foster a collaborative culture.

Make time for your team to get to know each other.

Host after-hours events, mixers, and activities for your employees on weekends. 

Consider putting together retreats and training programs, and don’t be afraid to let people have fun while they’re bettering themselves and your business. 

As you can see, creating a collaborative culture with a focus on innovation doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming.

A few small changes in structure and environment can inspire your team and take your business to the next level.

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About Sam L. Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, business and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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