Develop better team collaboration – Have fun & do amazing work
To develop better team collaboration – we need to let go of the belief that well-functioning collaboration and high performing teamwork is a natural self-developing process. We need to realize and accept that collaboration is a set of skills. And as any skill these needs dedicated training and development over time.
This means it’s a matter of choice. Do you want to unleash the full potential of your team and produce great results? Or do you settle with mediocrity? Either way collaboration is not a game of chance, it’s a choice.
Collaboration and teamwork can be described in many ways. Sometimes I hear people refer to teams with the analogy of a chain where the team members are linked together as a strong chain. But with the chain analogy you have the weakest link and that is a bad analogy for a high-performing team. It might be a good analogy of a dysfunctional team.
For a high-performing team it’s more like what the American author and businessman Stephen Covey said: “A great team culture makes individual weaknesses irrelevant.” That doesn’t mean we don’t need individuals to perform or have high standards, or that we should tolerate incompetents. But it does mean that well-functioning collaborations and high-performing teams uses their full potential by building on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
Trust is key in developing better team collaboration
The American based company Team Coaching International has been working with thousands of teams all over the world for many years and they have identified two dimensions in teamwork. They call these two dimensions Productivity and Positivity.
In each dimension, they also identified seven strengths or skills that high-performing teams are strong in. I won’t go through each and every one of these 14 strengths, but I would like to emphasize that one of the most crucial strengths for a well-functioning collaboration is trust.
Your communication and collaboration will only be as true, committed, creative, effective and honest as it feels safe to be, as the trust on the team allows.
The legendary baseball player Babe Ruth said:
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
For us to play together, to work together as a team, we need to have well-functioning collaboration. But how do we get there?
Well, we need to let go of the belief that well-functioning collaboration and high performing teamwork is a natural self-developing process. We need to realize and accept that collaboration is a set of skills. And as any skill these needs dedicated training and development over time.
Unleash the full potential of your team
Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist at Harvard Business School, says that when it comes to collaboration we often think too narrowly. We think of collaboration as a value to cultivate, which is great but we shouldn’t stop there. We also need to think of collaboration as a skill to learn. Humans want to learn and create. Want to grow, evolve and develop, we want to contribute, belong and interact. And we know that we are stronger together. We know that we are smarter together.
We often think that if we put great people together and incentivize them, they will rise to the challenge and produce results. But there is and old saying allegedly from a Greek Soldier called Archilochus: ”We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training”.
It’s ok that collaboration, cooperation and teamwork doesn’t develop that naturally or as smoothly as we would like it to. Because we can train and develop that. And we know that we have the potential. So the question is, do you want to unleash the full potential of your team and produce great results? Or do you settle with mediocrity? Either way – to develop better team collaboration is not a game of chance, it’s a choice.
And if your choice is to produce great results, you can train and master the necessary skills. Start using your team’s full potential by building on your already existing strengths. Through that you will both have great fun and do amazing work at the same time!