For a project team to be successful, its manager needs to find the right balance between individual leadership and group collaboration. If you’re wondering how to create a culture within your own project team that supports that blend, we’ve put together some principles that will point you toward success.
1 – Emphasize communication. Information within a project team needs to flow in several different directions—from the top down, among team members, and to/from outside partners. Sharing information is the first step to productive collaboration.
2 – Identify mentors. By tapping the senior members of your project team to help less experienced professionals improve their skills, you’ll foster partnership and encourage collaborative efforts.
3 – Establish sub-teams. This helps reinforce strong collaboration while also allowing more experienced team members to hone their own leadership skills. Decisions and proposals should come to you for final approval.
4 – Brainstorm regularly. By leading brainstorming sessions, you’ll be encouraging collaboration across your entire team structure while also ensuring the process stays on target.
5 – Hold inclusive meetings. Employ some reasonable guidelines (meeting frequency, sensitivity of information being discussed, etc.) to allow as much group participation as possible.
6 – Accept conflict. Disagreements—when handled professionally—often lead to innovative solutions.
7 – Accept setbacks. View problems and failures as opportunities to learn. Your team will be less likely to shrink away from tough challenges in the future.
8 – Ask for input. Soliciting team members for feedback is the best and fastest way to get the collaborative juices flowing. Be sure you listen to what your team has to say.
9 – Give good feedback. Keep it timely, direct, and relevant.
10 – Limit distractions. Informal discussions about project activities are productive—gossip is not. People will occasionally socialize, but keep a close eye on it to be sure productivity isn’t hampered.