If You Want Something Done Right… Build a Collaborative Team
Have you ever used the saying “if you want a job done right, do it yourself”? Although I have personally repeated this mantra many times throughout my life, I have recently started to question the validity of its use in the workplace. By stating this, you are implying that there is only one person who can do a job correctly, and that’s you; however, if you are a successful manager, you should have a team surrounding you that you trust to accomplish tasks just as well as if you had done them yourself. As a manager, you need to relinquish some control and trust your team to work together and perform tasks correctly while meeting your high standards. The first step in relinquishing that control is building a collaborative team that you trust to execute the projects and tasks that do not require your constant attention.
Here are some ways that you can “get the job done right” by utilizing the members of your team and creating a collaborative workplace environment.
Staff your team: As a manager, it is your job to hire individuals whose personalities will lend themselves to a collaborative workplace environment. These individuals have demonstrated that they are team players, have excellent communication skills and are open to new ideas. By surrounding yourself with these types of employees, you are setting yourself and your team up for success. After all, the only way that you are going to trust your team to get the job done right is if you trust that they can work together to reach a common goal.
Break the ice: Before your team can effectively collaborate, they need to form a rapport with one another. It’s your job as their manager to help them form this rapport, and the best way to do that is to break the ice right away. From leading them in team building exercises to conducting simple ice breakers, help them to form positive office relationships. These relationships will help them to trust one another, communicate effectively and eventually work collaboratively as a team.
Assign roles and outline goals: Collaboration between coworkers can be difficult if they do not know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This is especially true if they generally don’t work in the same area, or if there is a new employee joining the team. As a manager, it is your job to be acutely aware of their strengths and weaknesses; therefore, you are in the best position to assign roles within your team. You should be able to designate an individual to be the group leader, a team member to keep the group on track with deadlines, etc. By assigning these roles early on, you can help to avoid power struggles and confusion (especially if there is more than one team member with a certain skill set). In addition, you should outline goals and any benchmarks and deadlines that need to be met along the way to ensure that the project will be completed in a timely manner.
Check in: While part of the reason to form a collaborative team is to relinquish tasks and projects to a group of capable individuals who you trust, it is still important that you check in with them periodically to make sure that they are meeting deadlines and maintaining the quality of work that you expect from your employees. During these check-ins, keep in mind that this is now their project, so instead of running the meeting, listen to the team and offer advice only when needed. These check-ins also serve as an opportunity to observe how this specific combination of employees works together.
Resolve conflicts quickly: While building a team of talented individuals can have outstanding results, you may find that conflict develops between team members. If conflict among team members is allowed to continue for too long, it can fester and cause the group to become disconnected and unable to collaborate effectively. Checking in periodically will help you to gauge if there is any conflict brewing; in addition, it is important to keep an open door policy in case any conflicts arise that require your immediate attention.
It’s not your way, but it’s the right way: Part of delegating tasks to your team is accepting that the task or project may not be executed the way that you would have executed it. Although this can be frustrating, it is important to trust your team, take a deep breath, and focus on the areas that need your attention while your team works together to complete their tasks.
When it comes to getting a job done right, you don’t have to do it yourself. However, you do have to build a team that you can trust to work collaboratively to complete projects and meet goals.