Once you have your team in place, here are a few general tips to make sure the collaborative process runs smoothly:
- Don't let individuals get lost in the shuffle. Even though a team is a collaborative effort, each member should be allowed to feel a sense of ownership and accomplishment. Members should be rewarded for a job well done, and given encouragement and guidance when they need additional help completing a task.
- Let each team member actively take part in the decision-making process. Making each member feel integral to the group's success is crucial for the team's morale. Minimize the importance of rank; instead take advantage of the entire group's talents and skills to contribute to its overall success. However, there must be one clear leader who can make the final decision if the team can't agree.
- Keep the balance of work equal. One or two team members shouldn't be shouldering the burden for the entire group. Everyone should have a manageable and relatively equal workload.
- Build a foundation of trust and mutual respect. Each team member should be encouraged to share his or her opinions openly and respect everyone else's point of view -- even if they don't agree with it.
- Maintain open lines of communication. Everyone in the team should share ideas or express concerns with one another and with the company's management.
- When conflicts arise, take a positive approach. Avoid confrontation and blame. Keep your focus on the issues.
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