Do you want to increase the collaboration on your team? You’ve got great people, you’ve invested in them, and yet their performance, both individually and as a team, could be a lot better. Instead of seeking out each other as a support, they keep information and ideas to themselves. They don’t help each other. Meetings are boring and fail to produce results. Keep reading because there is hope!
Yes, You Can Improve Collaboration on Your Team!
We know how you feel. The defensiveness, the busyness, the failure to coordinate—it all gets in the way and perpetuates a cycle of mediocrity. There are a lot of excuses and finger-pointing.
Breathe! You can improve collaboration, but first you’ll have to get to the source of the problem. Keep reading; your solution is just words away!
The Arudia Collaborative Approach provides a visual for what your team needs to achieve to keep the teamwork wheel rolling forward. What you’ve got right now is a group of people. They work next to each other but not with each other. This is similar to the concept of parallel play in which young children play next to, but not with, each other. You get the picture oh too well!
Now what? Determine where the problem is. It’ll be at one of these five steps:
Step 1: Build Trust: Team members believe that their colleagues are open, reliable, benevolent, competent, and have integrity.
Step 2: Harness Diversity: Team members believe in and leverage each other’s different ways of thinking.
Step 3: Achieve Commitment: Team members understand and buy in to decisions.
Step 4: Embrace Accountability: Team members help instead of judge each other in being accountable.
Step 5: Focus on Goals: Team members are clear and focused on priorities and don’t let personal goals interfere.
Let’s focus on Step 1: Build Trust. Clearly, trust is the foundation for effective collaboration and, unfortunately, it is often difficult to quantify what is causing the distrust. Most people throw up their hands in frustration, but not you—because, not only are you reading this, but you’re going to download When You Don’t Have Trust, How to Diagnose and Treat the Problem below.
When you don’t trust a colleague, you ask yourself which of the five facets of trust you lack and consider the likely solution.
Five Facets of Trust and the Likely Solution to the Distrust Residing in each Facet
The colleague is consistent, diligent, and demonstrates commitment.
Solution to Distrust: Ask yourself whether there is a clear understanding of timelines and work product; confirm with your colleague and discuss the challenge so that you can work towards a win-win solution.
The colleague meets or exceeds standards of excellence, is willing to fulfill responsibilities, and is results-oriented.
Solution to Distrust: The problem could be a lack of training or understanding of expectations. Determine which and take the appropriate steps to rebuild trust.
3. Benevolence and Caring
The colleague has positive interactions with others, maintains confidences, and looks after others and their well-being.
Solution to Distrust: While this perhaps the most difficult facet to have distrust, be sure to clear up what might be misunderstandings by discussing the source of the distrust.
The colleague genuinely and openly communicates through both talking and listening. They share in making decisions.
Solution to Distrust: This could be a challenge caused by being quite busy or preferring introversion. Discuss norms for collaboration, including nailing down when it’s appropriate to consult each other.
The colleague is authentic—his or her thinking, what he or she says, and actions are aligned.
Solution to Distrust: First, ask yourself if you have integrity in your organization. If not, perhaps the problem is an issue of culture. Second, ask yourself if you create an environment in which colleagues feel comfortable disagreeing with you. And third, discuss the challenge with your colleague using the Arudia Win-Win Conversation Model.
If you thought this was valuable and would like more, download “When You Don’t Have Trust, How to Diagnose and Treat the Problem,” which is excerpted from the Workplace Toolkit: Actionable Approaches to People Problems. And, don’t forget to share with your friends and colleagues. Reach out anytime with questions and comments; we’d love to hear from you!