4 tips to promote a collaborative culture

by L&D21 Apr 2016
Working in a truly collaborative way means understanding why you need to be a part of your team, according to Janine Garner, author of From Me To We, and CEO of LBDGroup.
 
Instead of doing several things in an average way yourself, you need to surround yourself with experts because expert knowledge gives you expert results, Garner said.
 
“A willingness to engage, to take small steps, will show your team that you are able to make the transition to connecting with them effectively,” she added.
 
“Make your mindset one of collaboration, and the reconnect can happen. Don’t leave it to a corporate function, but make it a core function of your own leadership.”
 
Here are Garner’s four tips to reconnect with your team:
  1. The working environment 
Don’t set yourself up in a cushy corner office with closed walls. Studies have shown that working within a collaborative physical environment actually improves team engagement and drives results. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need for thoughtful ‘outspaces’, which allow for privacy and the chance to create and reflect. What a collaborative workspace does engender is a sense of belonging and that nobody is excluded from the big decisions that will affect the whole team. 
  1. Vulnerable leadership 
Allowing yourself to show ‘weakness’ in front of your team is not weak; it is actually strength, and will lead to reconnection. If you are able to admit when you have made a less than stellar decision, or that you are having trouble reaching a successful conclusion to a problem, and that you need assistance, it engenders trust. It allows your team to speak up and admit that they may need assistance in turn. It also means that they are able to showcase skills that you may not have recognised or acknowledged in the past. On two fronts, you will be succeeding; building personal relationships and at the same time engendering a bank of skills for future projects. 
  1. Give credit where it is due
Make sure that you are adequately acknowledging when your team members are the ones responsible for a result, whether that is an idea or a product. Too often, it is easy for a leader to be the one to stand solo in the spotlight and leave the team standing in the shadows, meaning a disconnect in terms of trust and a willingness to stand up and give 100% to future projects. When someone adds value, it is essential to acknowledge that contribution – and to do it publicly. 
  1. Be brave in your leadership of your team
Being willing to take risks that will be for the benefit of your team – even if they may not necessarily benefit you in the short-term – means your team will see not just a leader, but someone who has the collective interests at heart. This doesn’t entail being a sacrificial lamb; what it does entail is a degree of business bravery that you may not have thought about before. But think about this; how does your team currently view you? As someone who stands up for their best interests, or as someone who be running in front of women and children for the lifeboats?
 
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