I recently came across an Article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams“, written by Lynda Gratton and Tamar Erickson, that detailed an extensive study of the factors that contribute to healthy and collaborative working teams.
This study included 55 different working teams comprising 1,543 people from 15 different multinational organizations. The team size ranged from 4 to 183, and the teams performed tasks including new-product development, process reengineering, and identifying new solutions to business problems.
More than 100 factors in team dynamics and experience were examined to determine the most common attributes that lead to successful team performance. Eight of these 100 factors correlated directly with the successful performance of teams handling complex tasks.
While the goal of this posting is not to review all eight factors, I do want to specifically highlight two factors that greatly contribute to the success of collaborative teams. These are
- Ensuring the requisite skills–“Human resource departments that teach employees how to build relationships, communicate well, and resolve conflicts creatively can have a major impact on team collaboration.”
- Supporting a strong sense of community–“When people feel a sense of community, they are more comfortable reaching out to others and more likely to share knowledge.”
Many people ask for data about the effectiveness of HR training and the need for workplace communication training. It’s great to see that research is out there now that states exactly that and to see that the importance of so-called “soft skills” training is no longer an unquantifiable entity.
Good team communication and collaboration are highly desirable traits that are important for the efficiency and productivity of a working team and setting the team dynamics. Rarely do these skills organically grow within the team.
As the research shows, these skills need to be instilled, practiced, and cultivated through deliberate effort by the company, the team leaders, and the team members. Once teams embrace the importance of communication in the workplace and make the effort to foster it, they can see a tremendous return in successful collaboration and trust in their team dynamic.
These two factors lie at the heart of Emergenetics and we’ve seen it at work. Our Profile and training tools are designed to promote and foster collaborative behavior and a sense of community. Our Team Dynamics training programs strike at the core of these important skills, and they help bolster a culture of trust that values both diversity in thought and behavior and the power that can be achieved when every team member is focused on the common goal.
I believe it is fair to say that we must review how we classify “soft skills” training and that the very real skill of communication in the workplace may not be as “soft” as once thought.