1. Get everyone on the same page
The most important thing you can do to collaborate is to get people to work with you on the same goals. If everyone is distracted by working on their own projects, nothing gets done. As a member of the team, or the team leader, you need to sit everyone down and discuss your short and long-term goals, how you’re going to hit them and dictate who does what work.
2. Set expectations
Everyone on the team needs to know what they have to do and when they have to do it by. They should know how much work is expected of them and the number of hours they should put into it. They should also know what part of the project they need to be working on and who they can count on for support and resources. Leaders need to connect their teams goals to the overall strategic plan of the company. It’s important to also align the individual expectations with the shared expectations of the team. You also need to establish program metrics and timelines with the team and share progress updates so that people know when things are accomplished and can focus on other aspects of the project. Reporting is important so don’t forget to update your boss or the executives on your status so you can show steady improvement.
3. Use tech tools
As you know from being on this site, Quick Base is a cloud-based platform to easily build your own business process applications that can help you collaborate better in teams, no coding required. Quick Base allows you to set reminders, alerts and notifications to match your team needs. Google Docs is a free and easy to use way to share Microsoft Word and Excel files, edit them and see who is accessing them. However, if you’re using spreadsheets for online collaboration, you may want to assess if they are slowing you down or worse, causing manual errors. Evernote allows you to take notes and share them so that you can flesh out ideas and work better in a team. Timebridge gives you features like the ability the share your calendar availability, a meeting countdown, and setting up a staff meeting in one step.
4. Be open about everything
If something isn’t going right or you aren’t getting along with a team member, you need to be upfront with it. The more you hold back the more it will impede collaboration between the team. People love transparency because it makes them feel like they are part of a team. If you aren’t honest and hold things back, then you won’t be able to get everyone on the same page and people will be angry at you for not being upfront. If something goes wrong, bring it to their immediate attention so they can help you solve the problem.
5. Hold effective team meetings
Most teams waste time during meetings catching up about personal things. Before you start a meeting, have a reason for it. Then, tell each individual team member what they need to bring to each meeting and set an agenda. This way, you can measure the success of a meeting. Don’t feel like the meeting has to be an hour or two hours – make it more about the tasks at hand because the more time people spend in the meeting, the less time they have to do work.
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