June 13, 2017

A major challenge faced in today’s workplace is IT teams are often in silos and collaboration is scarce. The silo mentality not only reduces efficiency and overall morale, but kills productivity. According to a Salesforce.com survey, 86% of executives blame workplace failures on a lack of collaboration and poor communication. Here are 5 tips to overcome silos and foster a collaborative environment among IT teams, IT managers, and leaders.

Set clear goals. To overcome silos, it iscrucial that goals are established and measured accurately from the start. The leadership team must define a timeline to complete the goal and establish benchmarks along the way to ensure the team is moving in the right direction. By delegating specific tasks and objectives to members of the team, roles are clear. Every team member should understand their position and what is required of them. Teams thrive off routine and reinforcement. Therefore, meetings should be scheduled regularly to review and evaluate the effectiveness and progress of the team.

Communicate. While communication may seem obvious as a necessity for collaboration, it is often over looked or forgotten. It is imperative to share ideas with your coworkers, managers, and anyone involved in the process. When you communicate an idea, you are challenged not only to think clearly but concisely. Effective communication not only helps employees and managers build effective teams, it creates trust within them. Employees must know their role on the team and feel valued. Managers need to communicate clearly to correct mistakes, foster positive relationships with employees, and guide the team.

Trust each other. Trust and collaboration are often said to go hand in hand. Without trust, collaboration is hard to build and vice versa. Oftentimes, building trust in the workforce begins with a change in thinking. Give team members the benefit of the doubt and focus on building bridges. Assume positive intent from the start. It is important to work at building professional relationships among team members and to be honest with one another. Trust empowers effective collaboration and fosters a creative environment. You can demonstrate your trust to your team members by open, candid communication.

Leverage team member strengths. Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses, perspectives and ideas. Astrid Baumgardner provides several tips on leveraging strengths to enhance the power of your team. These include knowing the strengths of your team members, having a strength-based conversation at the outset of the project, and allocating roles based on the strengths of your team members. A great way to spot someone’s strengths is to pay attention to what they like to do, what they do well, and what excites them. By identifying what people are good at and pairing them with appropriate tasks and roles, leaders can leverage team member strengths and create more opportunities for collaboration.

Foster a creative environment.  It is important to have a comfortable space where cross-functional teams can come together in a relaxed environment to brainstorm and create solutions. This allows team members to brainstorm in a non-judgmental framework. It also cultivates a creative atmosphere that encourages collaboration. Effective brainstorming occurs when everyone on the team feels comfortable and open about sharing their ideas. Read these 12 Brainstorming Techniques from HubSpot to learn more about creative brainstorming.

How do you foster a collaborative environment among your IT teams?

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Posted By: Megan Thurow

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