As a manager, you may not necessarily think of yourself as a collaborator with your employees. Your mindset is most likely more focused on managing your team in the workplace. However, keeping in mind that being a distant or a bad boss can kill productivity, it would be best if you adjusted your mentality to realize that working in a symbiotic relationship with your employees will create a more productive workplace environment and it will make you a more successful manager. When you collaborate with your employees, you are not afraid to get down in the trenches and work jointly on certain projects directly with them. You know how to interact with your employees in a manner that inspires them to follow your leadership because they see you as a collaborator with them. Both you and your employees are focused on the same goal, which is success in the workplace and increased productivity. This article will discuss how to become a more effective collaborator with your employees.
1. Make a Decision to Collaborate
This process must begin with you making a definite decision to collaborate with your employees. You cannot become a collaborator and then change your management style half-way down the road. That would only cause confusion with your staff. Make sure that you begin with understanding why you want to become an effective collaborator.
You realize that your employees need a leader who is fully committed to the success of the team. You comprehend the value in working in a leadership role that brings the team together when you actually participate in some of the direct teamwork projects. Having you as an active part of the team will motivate your employees in a way that excites them to continue to follow your leadership. For example, when they see that you have committed to this leadership style of being a collaborator, they will feel more secure in their working relationship with you. That security will help in creating a workplace environment that cultivates increased productivity, which is your main goal in becoming a collaborator with your employees.
2. Share Your Decision with Your Employees
If you want to bring your employees along with you on this journey toward an effective collaborative relationship in the workplace, you need to be honest with them regarding your decision. This decision to start collaborating with your employees may mean a difference in your current management style. Before simply acting out in a collaborative style, it is vital that you are completely open with your employees about this new decision.
For example, you should call a team meeting or have a lunch and learn style event where you can lay out the ground rules for this new type of working relationship. This open style meeting will allow your employees to be freer with expressing their opinions and internalizing this news of your new style of management. If there are specific details that you need to explain with regard to the when, where, how and why of this new management style, have the various scenarios and “rules” printed out in a document that each employee can read and review. You want everyone to completely understand the reasons for the change in management style and how it will directly affect them and their work on various team projects.
3. Create Excitement for This Decision
It is also important that you find a way to create an excitement for your employees to accept this decision of the change in management style. Anytime something new happens in the workplace, some employees who are not open to change, will clam up and shut down. They may become anxious over the possible changes, even though nothing negative will be happening to them. It is your job as an effective collaborator to ensure that you help your employees to transition from any anxiety and uncertainty over this decision to an excitement about the new management style.
For example, if you want them to catch the excitement for this change, you must exhibit an upbeat attitude and be extremely excited about it. Demonstrate confidence to your employees that this decision was made with their best interest at heart so that everyone can become more productive. If you want to get everyone on board with this new change and be excited about your desire to collaborate more closely with them, show them your own genuine excitement.
4. Implement the Collaboration Plan
Once your employees have caught the vision of your decision to collaborate with them, you need to implement your collaboration action plan. Don’t wait six months to put your desire to collaborate into action. Once you have shared your decision, you should begin to implement this new type of management style so that you can keep the excitement going for this process in order to maximize the potential for increased productivity.
You should begin implementing this collaboration plan by delegating tasks for your employees on a team project and share what your specific action steps will be. For example, you can let your team know that you will be reviewing the new marketing plan that they created for one of your major clients. Then you’ll be tasked with contacting the lead counsel for that client in order to discuss legal issues regarding the marketing plan. Advise your employees that you want to be part of the brainstorm session that will be scheduled after your discussion with the client’s legal counsel so that your management and employee collaboration can produce new solutions to any issues with the marketing plan.
5. Create an Effective Review Process
In order to become an effective collaborator with your employees, you must create an effective review process. Your employees need to know that as you implement this new management style, they will have a chance to share their opinions and continue to express ideas for success on their individual and team project work. As a collaborator with your employees, it is vital that you take this review process seriously so that they know they can trust you to hear any concerns they may have along the way.
For example, institute a specific method for how your employees will contact you to discuss their concerns about this collaborative work relationship with you. Will you be available to meet in person with them? Maybe you’ll opt for airing out issues during a team meeting. Whatever method you chose to handle this communication with your employees, the process needs to be direct and user-friendly for both you and your team.
If you see the value in becoming a collaborator with your employees, you need to ensure that you focus on the steps discussed in this article to make the process more effective. Make sure that you fully understand why you want to become a collaborator and then share that decision in a manner that clearly disseminates that information to your employees. Remember to create a positive excitement about this decision so that your employees catch on to your vision. Implement your collaboration plan by beginning the process of actually working with your employees on current projects. Finally, make sure that you create a review process so that you and your employees can discuss the procedure and whether or not they have any concerns with any of the methods you’re using.
As a manager, have you used such collaboration methods to work with your employees on projects? How did the process go and was it successful?