What We Learned About Collaboration in 2014

We’re all about collaboration at Contactzilla HQ.

Working with other people makes us happier, more efficient and helps prevent stress when working on particularly troublesome projects.

This year, we’ve been busy exploring the best ways to create a collaborative culture at work. Here’s a quick lowdown on what we’ve learned…

A little love helps us to collaborate

Compassionate, or ‘friendly’, love, is a concept most of us don’t relate to the workplace, but a culture of compassionate love could be just what we need to improve collaborative efforts…

One study from earlier this year found that employees who felt that their workplace culture was loving and caring were more satisfied with their work, more engaged in team work and called in sick less. Employees who expressed affection and compassion to their colleagues were more satisfied and committed to their work than those who didn’t.

Authors and researchers Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson believe that forming communities in the workplace will aid collaboration significantly…

“Our research shows that new teams, particularly those with a high proportion of members who were strangers at the time of formation, find it more difficult to collaborate than those with established relationships.”

Susan Cramm, founder of Valuedance, recommends that creating a compassionate culture will inspire employees to work harder towards company goals…

“You have to help others before you can ever expect that they will help you. Go the extra mile and do the unexpected extras. Help them, praise them, share with them, and introduce them. Make sure they see their reflection in your leadership agenda by incorporating “what makes them tick” in shaping the “how” and “what” of your plans and approaches.”

The boss doesn’t always know best…

While most bosses like to think they know everything that goes on in the workplace, most don’t know the half of it.

It’s sad to think that such a lot of amazing work employees do goes unnoticed by bosses, but other team members often have a deeper, more understanding insight into what’s going on.

Collaboration strategist, Michael Sampson, notes that teams who work closely are able to appreciate and recognize the efforts that individuals have put in.

“Within the team, there is scope for team members to recognize each other for the contributions they’ve made. The team members know the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into achieving high performance, and can then appropriately recognize what individual people have contributed … if that’s necessary.”

This year, we’ve started to encourage peer to peer feedback at Contactzilla, asking our team to give each other a pat on the back when someone achieves something great, or give advice and feedback when things don’t exactly go according to plan.

Elevate employees’ voices

Jacob Morgan, author of Future of Work and The Collaborative Organization, reminds us that letting your employees have their turn to speak is vital for effective collaboration…

“When going down the collaboration road within your organization it’s important to make employees a part of the decision making process from step one. Listen to their ideas, their needs, and their suggestions and integrate their feedback in your technology and strategy.”

Showing your team that you value their input will give them a reason to chip in with their thoughts and ideas more often, helping to promote a collaborative culture with productive results.

What have you learned about collaboration this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: lostintheredwoods via Compfight cc

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