Monday, July 8, 2013

How to Improve Collaboration at Work

Is your team bogged down by bickering or back-biting? Do team members seem disengaged and uncollaborative? If so, it could be that they need to have their interactions overhauled so that conversations are supportive, focused and meaningful.
In Opening Doors to Teamwork & Collaboration: 4 Keys That Change Everything,  authors Judith H. Katz and Frederick A. Miller describe the necessary elements to improving interactions so that organizations will benefit from a more innovative, decisive and collaborative workforce. Anita Bruzzese recently interviewed the authors:
 1.       In your book, you write about the four keys that change every interaction. Let’s begin by looking at your suggestion to “lean into discomfort.” What do you mean by that?
Our interactions are the basic building blocks in organizations and the foundation for teamwork and collaboration.
We find people often are unwilling to speak up and to share their information or perspectives which lead to wasted effort in working together.  Leaning into discomfort is about being willing to experiment with new behaviors and invites people to speak up. Interactions with new people, ideas, and teams can be uncomfortable.  By literally saying, “I am leaning in to discomfort” you alert your team members that what you are about to say is a bit of a risk and invites them to join you in the conversation.
Leaning in to discomfort is critical to any individual or team that wants to learn, grow, solve problems together, and innovate.
2.       You also advocate “listening as an ally.” What does this mean?
All too often people listen to others to find the flaws in someone else’s position.  When we listen as an ally we listen as a true partner: working together to get underneath our assumptions, link to one another’s ideas and work through conflicts.
3.      If I’m working with others in my company, aren’t we all allies and working toward the same goal?
We’d like to think so – and often people will say they are working toward the common goal and vision. But in reality their behavior is the opposite.  What we have found in the teams and organizations with which we have worked is that few people actually really listen to (and hear) others.
When you listen as an ally, you work to understand the speaker’s point of view, and you make sure you understand before you respond. You seek to engage with the speaker and find the value in the speaker’s experiences and perspectives. As an ally, your focus is how (read more here)

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