Collaboration is good for business and a collaborative environment can help grow your business. There are significant benefits, including improved employee engagement, with key talent likely to stay working with you for longer; the attraction of top-tier talent; increased business momentum; and improved profitability. Here’s how to land a successful collaboration strategy for your business:

1. Encourage all team members to actively listen to one another

In day-to-day business communication, we don’t always fully listen in conversations, either because we’re worried about our own performance or believe that our ideas are better than those of others. As a result, we miss opportunities to grow, alienate those who haven’t been heard and hinder our teams’ effectiveness. Listening helps everyone to understand one another and the situation in order to focus on the collective goal.

2. Promote empathy between team members

Being empathetic involves being receptive to other people’s views, even if we don’t agree with them. It’s not always easy, but when we are empathetic to others, we almost invariably drive a better outcome. Empathy encourages constructive conversations which are essential in internal and external business communication.

3. Endorse giving authentic feedback

Feedback is an essential part of business communication and collaboration. However, all too often we will hold back in giving honest feedback for fear of hurting others. Conversely, when receiving feedback, we tend to feel polarised by our desire to improve and the desire to be accepted for who we are. Overcoming the innate aversion to honest feedback constitutes a genuine opportunity to improve.

4. Give weight to the ability to both lead and follow

The best collaborators are flexible enough to know how to both lead and follow. Those known for adding value and solving important problems are adept at both leading and following, moving seamlessly between the two modes as appropriate. In essence, they’re good at flexing.

5. Help others learn the importance of speaking with clarity

When speaking with others, we can sometimes be too indirect or abstract, which can lead to ambiguity and a failure to convey essential messages. Speaking with clarity is essential in avoiding confusion and clearly communicating the way forward. When we are able to communicate with clarity, we will also come across as more truthful.

6. Value the importance of win-win situations

Win-win interactions involve balanced communication in expressing our own concerns whilst addressing the concerns of others. When you communicate and demonstrate an understanding of the other person’s needs, then both of you can find solutions that create value for all parties involved.

Collaboration strategy conclusion

It’s simple logic: when you treat others with respect, it encourages others to treat you with respect in return. Respect fuels enthusiasm encourages information sharing and learning from one another, helping everyone to embrace new opportunities to collaborate. It is only by owning our mistakes, listening actively and reacting supportively to other people’s ideas that we can encourage lasting collaboration.

By encouraging everyone in the organisation in the six areas above, leadership teams can make collaborative, productive teamwork a way of life.

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