August is a time of year where, for most of the world, things shut down and people take a well-earned break. Offices are usually half-empty with staff away on holidays.
With fewer projects happening it gives everyone a much needed chance to catch up, but what does the quiet period do to the dynamics of teams? For those teams that work effectively the absences can decrease motivation and productivity and a sense of ‘teaminess’, for those where there is conflict it can be an opportunity for silos and tensions to become entrenched.
Collaboration is one of the biggest buzz words at the moment, and I can see why. If you can get your teams collaborating with one another and sharing ideas you can create much more impressive results than if they work in isolation. The important thing is to move the team to a place where they’re ready to collaborate and work together, and that can be a challenge.
Some of the things you may want to consider are:
1) Respecting individuality Understand the different skills, styles and abilities your team bring as well as different backgrounds. If you can create an environment where everyone is able to be themselves and use their talents they will.
2) Clarifying roles
Having a clear understanding of each person’s responsibilities and role can help to avoid any resentment or conflict where others feel they’re not doing what they’re supposed to. It’s important to have transparency around this and especially to understand who makes the final decisions on things.
Whether you’re working in the same room or on other sides of the world, communication is the key to effective teamwork. Whether it’s setting up a social platform, encouraging frequent team meetings or emailing updates, getting your team to communicate matters.
4) Connecting at a personal level
Whether it’s regular team drinks, creating a company football team or allowing extra time on every call to ask about their family, making time to get to know each other can go a long way to improving work relations. Try to arrange regular get-togethers if possible to pull the team together.
5) Working towards a shared goal
If you’re all working towards a different end result, then collaboration can never really work. Take some time to check in and ask team members what their objective is, if there’s a difference between members then this needs clarifying. There’s something really exciting when you’re all working towards the same thing.