4 Ways to Foster a Collaborative Team

Author: Robyn Parets | March 15, 2016

When you’re building a small business, hiring the right employees is like forming a sports team. If your team is comprised of players that work well together and individually, you’ll be in a better position to win.

The same holds true for your small business. Although there is no one perfect formula for developing a cohesive workforce, here are 4 ways to build a collaborative team that will help your company rise to the top of its game.

  1. Define Clear-Cut Roles. While your business may be your baby, everyone on your team has a valuable role. Since you likely hired your employees, or at least had a significant input into the decision, you probably already know some of their individual strengths. So, why not play to those strengths and encourage them to take the ball and run with it? For example, if someone is detail-oriented, this person would be better suited to work on a project with many moving parts than a team member who excels at seeing the big-picture. Or, if an employee is good at leading groups, he may be the best one to run a small team. When your employees feel empowered and trusted, they are more likely to shine in their jobs.
  1. Articulate Your Vision and Encourage Participation. While you play to the strengths of each employee, it’s equally important that you convey your vision clearly so that everyone understands your company’s goals and can rally around your ideas.

Although you don’t want to throw too much at your team at once, it’s a good idea to meet and discuss your goals for the company on an ongoing basis. You can use these gatherings as an opportunity to talk about where you hope the business will be next year, how you aim to get there as a team, and any new goals you may have for your growing business. This is also a great time to encourage your team members to be part of that vision by contributing to the discussion with their own ideas and suggestions. This way they will feel enthusiastic about helping you see your vision through.

  1. Give Your Team Something To Look Forward To. It’s a good bet that your employees already work hard. So why not give them an extra something to look forward to in the way of incentives?

Incentives can be monetary bonuses, an extra vacation day, or even a group outing on a Friday. You can even give your employees gift cards to stores and restaurants you know they like. Whatever you decide to do, small incentives can go a long way. Recognizing your team’s efforts often contributes to a more enthusiastic vibe in the office, especially when everyone feels they are working toward the same common goals.

  1. Get To Know Each Other. You may work together, but do you really know your employees and do they know you? Even with only a few employees at your office, it’s easy for everyone to get caught up in day-to-day work and never truly get to know the person they sit right next to five days a week.

This doesn’t mean you all have to hang out together after work, but going out to lunch as a group every so often can certainly help build camaraderie. Likewise, an off-site team-building event might seem corny, but as long as it’s appropriate and inclusive, it can be a positive experience.

Indeed, fostering a friendly workforce is key to an upbeat morale at the office. In fact, research shows that employees with friends at work are happier at their jobs, according to the Harvard Business Review. And, if your employees are happy and comfortable around you, they are more likely to approach you with ideas as well as their concerns.

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