5 Steps to Building a Collaborative Team Culture
At Lucas Group, we win as a team and we lose as a team.
The wins are easy. We congratulate each other on a job well done and take what went right into the next project or task. The losses are more difficult, but just as vital. Our team rallies around the individual to lend support, be a sounding board, and help them refocus on their next goal. Why? We prize collaboration above individual victories.
Our team collaborates across the board. It’s not only the most tenured leaders offering their expertise. We learn from all levels and appreciate everyone’s insight, whether they’ve been with the company for 30 years or 30 days.
Creating a Culture of Collaboration
It’s no secret that collaboration leads to better teams, better leaders, and better results. McKinsey estimates digital collaboration can unlock more than $100 billion in value, partly thanks to productivity increases of 20-30% in collaboration-intensive work processes.
Of course, unlike a pair of tech-heavy glasses in the movie Free Guy, a collaborative workplace doesn’t simply fall into your hands. It starts with intentionally fostering a collaborative mindset:
- Don’t sugarcoat it. My team is very close. Part of the reason for this is that we’ve created a space where we’re respectful but can still say what needs to be said. Rather than tip-toeing around someone’s feelings, we’re able to be truly honest with one another, helping us all be more successful. If I don’t think my colleague’s suggestion is the strongest one for the situation, I’ll let them know. Of course, there’s a right way to do this. Don’t be dismissive for the sake of it. If you’ve got a better idea, gracefully present yours and share why you think it’s stronger. There are no hurt feelings if someone disagrees– it’s about finding the best solution together.
- Lower your defenses. Do you face the world with your armor raised, ready to defend against attacks? A defensive team is a fractured team. When no one is willing to hear other thoughts and takes everything as a personal criticism, nothing gets off the ground. I know how easy it is to get attached to your own vision; I’ve had my share of great ideas that landed with a thud. Remember: it’s not a personal attack on you. People are merely trying to do what’s best for their clients or customers. Come back to a place of collaboration. Ask yourself, “Who can I partner with to improve this approach or deliver better value?”
- Watch out for siloed teams. Ever work on a project only to find out that another division has been doing something similar for weeks or even months? You end up duplicating efforts and wasting resources, rather than creating a unified solution together. Siloed teams don’t just hinder collaboration– they hurt morale and make cross-selling almost impossible. Proactively let other divisions know what your team is working on. Doing so makes a statement that ideas are welcome and knowledge sharing the status quo, not the exception.
- Give shout-outs. You’re not the only one at your company doing great things– let your colleagues know when they’ve done something you admire! We do a lot of team shout-outs at Lucas Group. When someone adds value, we aren’t afraid to sing their praises. It’s brought our team closer together and adds pride into the work we do.
- Stop worrying about how you look on video calls. Depending on how you feel about “Zoom fatigue,” this last one could be the trickiest of all. I get it — there are some days where the kids or dogs have been up all night and you could use a lot more sleep (and coffee) to feel presentable. But with remote and hybrid workforces continuing to trend upward, put any fears of being on video to rest. I’ve gotten to know more of my colleagues across the country and feel closer to my teams because we’re all on camera and participating. Additionally, new hires won’t know “who’s who” if they can’t associate a face with the name. You’re doing a disservice to them by blocking off any potential creative ideas from people too timid to speak up because they’ve never actually seen your face.
How are you creating a more collaborative workplace at your company? I invite you to share your collaboration secrets in the comments below.