Team collaboration reflects the ability of your team to function cohesively. Your team becomes a real team.
When you stop and think about it, most teams are teams in name only. Most of the time, they are a group of disharmonious individuals with homogeneous professional experience. They are hired to sell, to account, to engineer. They are not hired to collaborate.
The term “collaboration” has two interpretations. In the positive sense, collaboration involves working together to produce high-quality output for the benefit of customers. The “dark-side” definition involves cooperating with enemies or working at cross-purposes in order to disrupt the prevailing culture.
What type of collaboration culture exists on your current team?
Great team collaboration achieves a high degree of team interoperability. Everyone operates on group-think bandwidth. Everyone has each other’s backs. Everyone understands everyone else’s skill sets. Everyone appreciates how each team member’s input complements everyone else’s input.
On dysfunctional teams, everyone is at each other’s throats. It is very hard to have each other’s backs when team members are consistently at each other’s throats.
As a manager-leader, your strategic goal is to achieve consistency and balance on your team in a positive, productive and profitable manner. That strategy focuses you on creating the optimal environment for team collaboration for consistently executing strategy.
Your roadmap for team collaboration for consistency includes these three steps:
- Focus first on developing your own team coaching capabilities, as a manager-leader of worth. Take an introspective tour of your own skill sets. Are you a myopic metrics-focused, numbers cruncher? Are you an impediment or an asset to your team collaboration objectives?
- Expand your team’s bandwidth. Explore, as a team, what is involved in achieving enhanced group performance. The very act of exploring this issue together is a first step towards creating an environment fostering team collaboration.
- Have skin in the game. Become more personally committed to team collaboration as the basis of achieving enhanced performance outcomes. When you walk the talk, your team is more inclined to buy into the concept of team collaboration, no matter how uncomfortable they initially feel.
When you set this type of course, you create the opportunity for your team branding to be recognized by the marketplace. The goal of team collaboration for consistency is for current and potential customers to invite you to their tables and ask you: “What do you think about this?” rather than “Can you make this?”
When your team becomes know for what you think, rather than what you can do, you become branded as innovators rather than order-takers.
It is your choice, as an engaged manager-leader. Collaboration or dysfunction?
I certainly know what type of teams I choose to work with. And you?
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.