I’ve come to learn over the better part of the past decade just how important it is to work in a collaborative environment. The teamwork involved and the trust required between manager and employee, employee and co-worker are so vital to a thriving business because it creates a place where everyone feels their voice is being heard and no one is singled out for their mistakes, especially not in front of the team.
What makes a collaborative environment is having all team members involved – no matter their rank in the company – understanding the goal the company as a whole is trying to achieve. Without this it can quickly devolve into a game of darts where everyone is throwing their dart at the board at the same time. You might get lucky and hit the mark, but chances are that more than one person will end up frustrated or injured in the process.
Everyone must know the goal of the company.
At RYNO, our goal is to grow businesses. We do that by being innovative and by offering strategies and a mindset of complete transparency that helps us to partner with the companies we work with. This wasn’t just an overnight idea that was forced into practice the next day. This has been built over years of collaboration and brainstorming about how we as a company can let customers know that we truly care about growing their company and not ever let them feel like we are just taking their money.
Since my day one in February 2013, when there were only six of us in the office, I have experienced the collaborative effort of this team. I was told in my first week, “You’re the expert in what you do. That’s why we hired you. You tell us what you think will make us better.” That little bit of encouragement from the outset let me know that I was in the right place, that my skills would be used, and that my voice would always be heard.
Collaboration isn’t just found around a conference table.
At RYNO we not only work hard, we play hard, as well. We’ve had team outings to the water park, laser tag, and even built a home together for a family in Mexico. All of these things were not just fun and memorable, but they really began to shape us as a team and helped to build trust amongst everyone involved. Once we got to know each other, it became easier to share ideas without the fear of being shot down. And even if we were, we knew that the person nixing the idea held the best interest of the team and almost always had an alternative already in mind.
Out of collaboration, leaders naturally tend to emerge.
It’s almost never a power grab or an uncomfortable situation. When everyone is being heard, the voices of those who are most influential by nature become the voices that the rest of the team begins to seek out. Not all leaders are born, some are made through process and teamwork. For me, I am naturally an introvert, so I almost always need permission from those I am attempting to lead before I can take charge.
A timid leader is not an effective leader.
It wasn’t until I was called out by a teammate years ago who said, “just tell me what you want me to do and I will do it” that I realized I was acting so timid. From that point on I began to take my own leadership seriously and started having confidence that I could actually lead a team.
If you’re in that position as a leader you need to begin to have confidence that the team you are leading is looking to you for guidance. Whether you realize and accept that or not is up to you. But my experiences in team environments have shown that teams always look for their leaders to be confident and willing to listen learn from those they are leading.
If the collaborative team system is functioning properly you will begin to see the benefits both individually and as a team.
Employers will not only see increased engagement in their employees, but morale improves and the passion that flows from an engaged team is irreplaceable. You will see smiles even through the toughest of days and everyone will feel a sense of accomplishment when a major task has been completed. Even the individual accomplishments become a celebration for the whole team.
Author: Jerad Shepherd, Front End Web Developer