Pop quiz: what’s the best way to encourage collaboration within your team?

If you’re like most managers, you might say…

Using tools such as Slack and Trello. Having frequent meetings. Assigning team members KPIs and key metrics.

Now, these things do help you with coordinating and communicating expectations — we’re not denying that.

That said, they fall short when it comes to:

  • Managing team dynamics and diversity.
  • Helping team members deal with conflict
  • Encouraging them to develop a sense of personal accountability, and

It’s important NOT to confuse collaboration with coordination here.

Coordination = Sharing information and resources to allow all team members to achieve their goals. In other words, coordination deals with teamwork.

Collaboration = Working together to deliver results, in support of a shared vision.

So, now that you know that setting KPIs and having meetings doesn’t drive collaboration, the question is… what does?

Well, the key to successful collaboration lies in helping your team members develop the awareness and skills they need to build more effective relationships.

Here’s where Core Strengths training comes in. Simply put, it teaches employees to understand their own and their colleagues’ underlying motivations, strengths and conflict styles.

Here, we also differentiate between these two conditions: when things are going well, and when there is conflict present.

At this point, you might be wondering… how is this different from traditional approaches to collaboration?

Well, traditional models tend to focus on one-size-fits-all techniques. Because these techniques don’t consider individual differences, they aren’t the best in generating trust, influence, and meaningful conversations.

At the same time, they also are not particularly helpful in resolving conflict.

For instance, say you understand that:

  • Employee A is very task and results focused. They want to get things done quickly and efficiently.
  • Employee B prefers to take time to decide on the best course of action and is motivated by understanding details before acting.

Now, if these employees are tasked to work on a project together, you can see how conflict might develop here.

Employee A might be focused on pushing out the deliverables as quickly as possible, but employee B might want to slow down so that they can look through all the specifics, and make sure everything’s right.

Assuming that these two employees don’t understand each other’s points of view, conflict will probably arise, leading to a lose-lose situation.

Now, some leaders or managers might choose to turn a blind eye to this, believing that these things work themselves out or it only happens occasionally.

But consider this: US employees spend 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict, and this translates to $359 billion of paid hours that’s wasted due to conflict every year.

The bottom line?

Many of the techniques we use today generates compliance.

If you want your team members to be able to collaborate effectively and minimize conflict, then it isn’t sufficient to just stick to one-size-fits-all methods that don’t consider individual differences or interpersonal effectiveness.

Instead, start utilizing tools and training programmes that focus on recognizing these individual differences and developing interpersonal skills, such as Core Strengths. This will provide the foundation for a highly collaborative and engaged workforce.