How to Make Collaboration Work for Your Team

Posted on September 21, 2011.

Depending on their past experiences with collaboration, your team may not willingly sign up for a group assignment. The role you play as the manager can make a huge difference in whether that collaboration yields results or torture for your team.  Here’s how to get the best results:

Pay attention to how you form the group.  Diverse backgrounds, experiences, and opinions lead to lively discussion and debate, which produce better outcomes than convergent thinking.

Make sure the group understands and buys into the purpose of the assignment. Let the participants know that it is not a failure if they can’t engage in the work. Replace them with someone who can.

Empower the team to make decisions so it does not become a frustrating experience of endless debate.

Step in when they hit a roadblock or can’t resolve a disagreement. Your job is to remove obstacles, so make the decisions that will keep the work moving ahead and let the team produce results.

Collaboration isn’t sitting around a table and agreeing with each other. It’s messy and often difficult, and that’s when it’s working well. If it were easy then corporate America would be celebrating a lot more success.