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How to Promote Collaboration and Teamwork

In most organizations, teamwork and collaboration are required to face the most pressing business issues. However, how does a manager promote collaboration and teamwork on a team to drive performance?

Developing collaboration and teamwork requires managers' to help employees to connect their work to the broader organizational goals. Many employees struggle to understand how the job that they do, whether in accounting, sales, operations, and marketing, connects to the broader organizational goals and how they directly make an impact on the success of the organization.  To help drive more effective teamwork and collaboration on your team, it is imperative that you help employees' to understand how their work directly connects to the organizational goals.  Failing to do so, will make employees feel like they are not a valued member of the team, that they do not add to the success of the company, and may allow employees to become disgruntled.

We often find that employees operate in siloes, and disassociate themselves from the companies common vision and mission.  For example, in human resources, you may see that employees are working in siloes.  When a problem occurs they may refer to the problem as a payroll problem, "oh that's a payroll issue, I can't help you with that."  You should immediately discourage us versus them behavior that erodes collaboration and teamwork on the team.  Your employees are not aware of the difference between payroll, compensation, or talent management, nor do they necessarily care if you view these functions as separate, all they care about is that they are experiencing an issue and need help from human resources.  Connect employees to a shared vision allowing them to identify problems as a human resources issue, and recognize that they are members of a broader human resources community. 


Schedule meetings with your team to share the organizational goals of the company and your departmental goals. Show how your corporate goals directly connect and support the goals of the organization. Help employees to understand how their specific job, furthers the organization's deliverables and the department goals. Help employees' to make the connection to the broader organization and the broader team.

Another solution that you can utilize to help promote collaboration and teamwork among teams is to provide really clear directions and define the priorities of the team. Nothing is more frustrating to the team than being unsure of what their marching orders are. Consistently providing clear instructions to the team will help them understand how to do their jobs, identify if their strategy or approach needs to change, and develop the right solutions to help them achieve their goals. 

Normally goal setting is announced to the organization early in the year, first quarter, yet the pace and scale of business changes occur rapidly, thereby requiring businesses to revisit their goals to ensure continued alignment and to provide updates to employees on any changes and shift required to align with the new strategy. Failure to communicate and update employees, clarify roles and responsibilities, will result in a wasted effort by the employees and drain on organizational performance.

Utilizing an Everything DiSC® profiles will help you to effectively communicate with your team about the organizational goals and any changes in your strategy.  Each employee will require a different level of support from you as their manager.  Some employees, such as those with a D Everything DiSC personality type, will only require for you to provide them with an update on the goals and will devise their own strategy on how to move forward.  Employees with an Everything DiSC® profile of a C Everything DiSC personality type will require a lot more context and data to understand the changes, the business rationale, and weigh the pros and cons before moving forward.  While an employee with the Everything DiSC® profile I style will welcome any changes and be enthusiastic in their approach to accomplishing the changes, this employee may require your support as they haven't fully assessed all the details required in how to move forward on achieving their goals.  Finally, an employee with an S Everything DiSC personality type will approach the changes in a supportive way.  This individual will work with all parties to ensure that the organizational goals are achieved but may require your support along the way.

In addition, have employees learn how to value the contributions of all team members.  Create a psychologically safe work environment where all employees feel safe to contribute their ideas, no matter how silly, and have peers build on ideas rather than tear them down.  In organizations that are psychological, safe employees are encouraged to think outside of the box and brainstorm the opportunities without fear of judgment and persecution.  Employees are encouraged to have the real talk openly rather than leaving a meeting and then sharing how they feel about what was discussed.  In discussions where employees do not agree with an idea, rather than say that won't work, they help the employee to figure out how it can work, how it can be improved.  Instead of statements like, no ...but; they use, yes that's a great idea, and to add to your great idea what if.  The possibilities are endless in an organization that psychologically safe, free from persecution and all employees contribution are valued.

Our final recommendation to promote collaboration and teamwork is simple yet an underutilized tool.  Acknowledgment.  Recognize the hard work of your team.  Give credit where credit is due and praise employees for a job well done.  The trick for acknowledgment and praise is to give credit in a way that is meaningful to the employee.  Each Everything DiSC personality type likes to be recognized differently.  Some employees like private recognition, while others enjoy public recognition.  For example, an individual with an I style who likes people and works hard to be liked by his peers and others would like to be recognized publically.  While individuals with the C style who are more introverted and private may prefer quiet recognition, a one-on-one conversation where a manager congratulates the employee for a job well done or rewards the employee with enhanced responsibilities.  Structuring your approach to the celebration of the teams' success will require a tailored approach based on each team members style.