How you communicate and work together is vital to the success of your business. For your marketing team, in particular, communication and collaboration are non-negotiable necessities. All marketing is about communicating a message, but if your team can’t communicate among themselves, they won’t be able to communicate with your audience (or prepare deliverables).
There’s just one problem: many workers aren’t trained to collaborate.
The good news is that you can get even the most fractious team to come together if you approach collaborating the right way. Here are the best ways to collaborate with your team on any project.
Have a Clear Goal
The first step to any successful collaboration is understanding what your team is trying to achieve. You might be able to work out the goal as you go when you work alone, but you need a clear goal if you want the whole team to be able to meaningfully contribute.
This can be as simple as a single, concrete final objective, or it can be an elaborate timeline of deliverables and mini-deadlines leading up to the conclusion of the campaign.
Either way, take a look at how your team organizes goals at the start of a project and figure out what method works best for you. The clearer you can get on your goal, the easier it is to define each person’s role in working toward the goal.
Get on the Same Page
Once you get on the same page about your end product, you need to get on the same page for all other elements of the project.
Think of it this way: if everyone is distracted by mini projects and their contributions are scattered, nothing gets done. Having three people work on the same thing is also counterproductive if it means other tasks are neglected.
You need to be clear about who is responsible for what, as well as your short- and long-term goals for the project. Everyone should have a clear understanding of how they fit into the team.
Quick question: are you setting expectations the right way?
Here’s a hint: if you’re not using open communication early and often, the answer is probably no.
Establishing expectations applies to everything. Yes, everything. Your team should know your expectations about:
- Communication style and frequency
There should be no question in anyone’s mind about what’s expected at any point. That way, they can go into the project with everyone marching to the same beat. And if there is a problem, all team members should know your expectations about how to handle it.
Be Open About Everything
However, this won’t work unless you’re open about everything.
Your collaboration is only as strong as your communication. The more you hold back, the harder time you’ll have working together.
A full quarter of American employees don’t trust their bosses, and only about half of employees believe that their bosses are upfront and transparent with them. Worse, employees quit bosses as much as they quit jobs with 37% of employees saying they would leave due to a poor opinion of their boss’s performance.
The only way to combat this is by being open about everything. If you’re not transparent, your team won’t feel like they can be transparent with you, and suddenly you have a situation where your team doesn’t feel like they can mention problems.
Every team is different and so is every team member. That’s a good thing–if you leverage it.
Note that there’s a difference between working with someone’s strengths rather than working around their weaknesses. Working with someone’s strengths empowers them to contribute their best work and emphasizes their best assets as a team member. Working around someone’s weaknesses makes them feel self-conscious about covering up their weaker contributions and creates a closed-off communication style.
If you have the time, especially if you’re working with a brand new team, start out by having every team member take the same personality test (like the Meyers-Briggs test) and share their results. This allows you to measure each person’s strengths based on the same metric and lets your team get to know each other.
Master the Art of Compromise
As the cliche goes, there’s no “I” in “team”. In other words, if you want to work together as a team, you need to master the art and science of compromise.
This requires a careful balance. You need to give some ground to get everyone to agree, but you also can’t back down every time a strong personality tries to steamroll you. Compromise isn’t about universally giving someone else their way. It’s about finding a middle ground that everyone agrees with.
The key, again, is open communication. It also helps to use inviting language to get everyone on the same page. For example, “you” statements always read as more aggressive and accusatory, so a team member will be more receptive to, “What I’m hearing is…” than, “What you’re saying is…”
The idea is to reframe your language to invite others into the group, rather than singling them out. Rephrasing statements also encourages active listening, which shows the other person that you’re engaged in what they’re saying.
Recognize and Celebrate Collaborative Behavior
Finally, collaboration is a team effort. In order to make it work (and get your team to-do list done) you need to keep every member engaged and willing to collaborate.
To do this, you need to set the tone for team behavior by recognizing and celebrating collaborative behavior in other team members.
This tells your employees two things. First, it establishes that this type of productivity is the gold standard for team behavior. Second, it shows the whole team that collaboration is a value that your leadership (and the whole business) strives to promote.
The Tools You Need to Collaborate With Your Team
Of course, we know that collaboration is more than just people. These days, you need the right tools to be able to collaborate with your team and encourage team-wide engagement.
That’s where we come in.
Our tools make it easy to get the whole team on the same page, streamlining your work processes and maximizing each person’s ability to contribute. In short, we make the tools that your team needs to succeed. Ready to get started? Click here to learn more about our available products today.