Women smiling at a table with her co-workers

Does being a team player matter?

As business professionals, we spend a lot of time analysing individual performance, either our own or that of the people we manage. We ask, where can we do better? How can we upskill? What do we, or they, need to be more productive and successful?

Are we asking the right questions?

In a recent survey 45 per cent of respondents stated that team building and collaboration are the highest ranked aspect of a great working environment. (Health and wellbeing support were next.) An American study of 1,100 companies carried out by Babson College in Massachusetts found those that promoted collaborative working were five times more likely to be high performing. An older Stanford University paper noted that participants that worked

The key to productive collaborations is good people and results-focused management – it is enabling people with diverse skills to lead in their area of expertise.

Getting collaboration right

It’s important you’re engaging in the right type of collaboration. Recent studies suggest that too much of the wrong type of collaboration can be damaging to productivity, contributing to burnout and wellbeing.

Calculated people and performance management ​is essential to getting the collaborative balance right. Here are three strategies that might help:

1) Reduce distractions: Just responding to a text could result in the need for 64 seconds of recovery time. A longer interruption could require up to 23 minutes. This can increase stress, up workload and cause frustration. Efficient collaborators structure their day to optimise their time. They might, for example, answer emails in short scheduled blocks during the day or organise a short informal meeting to discuss ad-hoc issues that would otherwise rob efficiency from their day.

2) Streamline collaboration tools: The enterprise collaboration market is set to hit USD $45 bn by 2025, yet 75 per cent of executives feel these tools still compete rather than facilitate good team or group work. Don’t just jump on the technology band wagon. Make sure you understand what these tools can do for your business, and teach your teams how to use them effectively.

3) Connect your silos: A team is a group of people with similar skills working toward a common goal, but a collaboration is facilitated when people with diverse skills lead in their own area. Good managers will be able to cross connect organisation silos to create ‘tribes’, a community of talent that has synchronicity. Three quarters of employees believe this is possible, but only when good leadership skills are employed.

IMNZ offer a range people and performance management training courses, to help improve people management skills for collaboration success. View them here.

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