Improve Team Collaboration With This One Tip

by | 2 minute read

Since the dawn of the com­put­ing age, work­place cul­ture has been mov­ing away from the focus on a sin­gle employee’s out­put. Today, we empha­size the work and suc­cess of the team. But how do you get the best results from your team? In a col­umn for Infor­ma­tion­Week, Paul Korzeniows­ki dis­cuss­es one prac­tice most man­agers have too much faith in and offers a bet­ter solu­tion.

Korzeniows­ki points out that many man­agers and lead­ers are spend­ing good mon­ey to hire pro­fes­sion­als and con­sul­tants with the aim of improv­ing team col­lab­o­ra­tion. These out­siders come into the work­place with ideas and strate­gies for ‘forced fun’ and a one size fits all men­tal­i­ty. In some cas­es, these exer­cis­es might help improve your team’s will­ing­ness to work togeth­er. But, Korzeniows­ki cites man­age­ment con­sul­tants who point out that these types of exer­cis­es are out of date.

A bet­ter way to build a team cul­ture is to start with the phys­i­cal lay­out of the work space. At many com­pa­nies, employ­ees who work as part of a team sit in an open floor plan where col­lab­o­ra­tion is easy. Beyond that, he rec­om­mends encour­ag­ing your peo­ple to vis­it at the water cool­er or in the break room. Allow them to take a break for 10 to 15 min­utes to talk about their per­son­al lives. Their dis­cus­sions about being up all night with a sick baby or cheer­ing their kid on the soc­cer fields build a per­son­al bond that can’t be eas­i­ly dupli­cat­ed by an out­sider who is run­ning a team-build­ing exer­cise.

These casu­al employ­ee con­ver­sa­tions can often lead into dis­cus­sions about work prob­lems the team is try­ing to solve. In these cas­es, you don’t want to put on your tra­di­tion­al man­ag­er hat and hur­ry peo­ple back to their desks. Instead, make sure there’s a con­fer­ence room avail­able where they can strate­gize with­out dis­turb­ing the oth­er team mem­bers in the com­mon area.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-own­er of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.