A modern business operates in a very complex environment that requires its people to work collaboratively with one another if the business is to survive.
Collaboration is a process of shared decision-making in which all team members constructively contribute to workplace processes to achieve jointly determined outcomes. Creating a collaborative workplace often results in a win-win situation, where everyone involved can gain from the experience through successful outcomes and the feeling of achievement.
When working collaboratively, a team needs to:
- have a shared vision to work towards which has been jointly determined
- have clearly defined goals which outlines what they are trying to achieve, and
- which builds upon, and develops, the interests and skills of each team member
Collaborative workplaces don’t just happen – they are created through effective leadership by:
- Collectively deciding upon team goals and outcomes
- Participating in regular meetings to discuss the team’s progress and collectively make decisions
- Undertaking activities which promote individual accountability
- Encouraging the equitable sharing of the workload
- Determining the mutual benefits for both the individual team members and the team as a whole
- Building trust within the team by providing encouragement and praise of all involved
A collaborative workplace also recognises that people are different and these differences should be valued and accepted.
The commitment and involvement of other leaders is also very important. So is the inclusion of other stakeholders from the different parts of organisation. This inter-dependence of all stakeholders will result in mutually beneficial solutions and outcomes being reached.
Creating and supporting a collaborative workplace takes time, and conflicting interests or when interests of a few are allowed to drive an agenda can derail the collaborative process, so it is important that as the leader, you help your team stay focussed on what’s important eg providing the best product or service for their customers that you possibly can.