Top-Shelf Tip No. 124:

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

African proverb

Four Habits To Greater Collaboration

Collaboration in the workplace is essential for your company's growth. When team members feel free to share ideas and see value in working together, the entire organization can move more effectively toward goals.

However, collaboration doesn't always come naturally—especially in newer businesses where a collaborative culture may not yet have taken root. John Boitnott, a journalist and digital consultant, says that companies can help develop collaborative skills by focusing on four key habits. We explore these habits in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Adopt a healthy mindset. Boitnott encourages leaders to emphasize the benefits of developing a mindset centered on helping others and reinforce how this mindset helps individuals achieve their goals. When everyone pitches in to help, it not only helps lighten the load for all but also fills in skills or knowledge gaps to get the job done. As a leader, you can help encourage this in your team by rolling up your own sleeves and working on projects alongside your employees. You can also present opportunities that involve social good, such as a volunteer project outside of the organization, where the team can focus on helping others. The key is to engage in actions that illustrate the benefits of the collaborative, helpful mindset.

2. Encourage independence and intrinsic motivation. Instead of micromanaging your team members, encourage greater individual and team independence. Boittnott says that to develop this strategy for yourself as a leader and encourage it in your team, you should consciously practice the art of delegation. If you let team members act on their own as self-starters, it shows you trust them with important tasks. It sends the message that you're open to collaborating with them. It may even show employees they can collaborate with each other by sharing duties and tasks.

3. Give your employees a voice and really listen to what they say. Boitnott says that giving employees an opportunity to provide input in a supportive setting encourages open communication and better collaboration. On an interpersonal level, you can meet with your employees to get their individual opinions, which demonstrates your keen interest in their ideas about the company. If you have a larger company base or remote staff, you can also conduct an in-depth survey to collect their opinions and thoughts. When you actively listen to your workers, you encourage a sense of pride and ownership in the resulting work. Employees who see that their feedback counts generally have a greater desire to achieve something for the team.

4. Provide the necessary tools, resources and training. If you want your team to produce the best results, you must provide them with the most appropriate tools, resources and training. Boitnott says that properly equipping your team can help make employees feel more valued. In turn, that helps them to adopt a self-starting, independent approach to collaboration. To inspire this habit, maintain a belief in the value of ongoing learning and skills development. From there, develop a strategy and budget that drive ongoing investment in resources which align with strategic initiatives and maximize the power of collaboration.

A collaborative culture is within reach at your company. Start by cultivating the habits above to make your employees feel supported. When you do, they'll naturally feel compelled to embrace collaboration and help your team achieve goals.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked at TV, newspapers, radio and internet companies for 25 years. He has written for Fast Company, NBC, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, USA Today and BusinessInsider, among others.

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