Do you remember the moment it happened? You stood there, chest out, as you proudly looked upon your managers and declared, “We have built a great team.” Then, you were metaphorically slapped in the face and reminded you don’t have a team.
You have a group of individuals that are unable to communicate. Because they are not able to communicate, they do not collaborate. Because they do not communicate and collaborate, there is no way you have cohesion. As it turns out, they aren’t really a team at all.
Here are some thoughts on how you can build the cohesion within your company.
Communication is “to give information about (something) to someone by speaking, writing, moving your hands, etc.” If only it were that simple. Being a good communicator is one of the most difficult things. Some factors that go into being a good communicator include timing, message delivery, body language and being a good listener.
Some pointers for your team: Know when to pick up the phone. Too many critical communications are delivered by email or text. It is highly likely that your message will be misunderstood if received electronically.
Tip No. 2 is to seek to understand before seeking to be understood. If you want the conversation to go well, ensure you ask questions. For example, “Why didn’t you include me in the meeting? Was there something I did that caused you to react that way?”
The mistake most commonly made in the communication process is that we make it all about us. When we make it all about us, the receiver of your message will often get emotional and defensive. Try asking questions with no sharp edges in the tone of your voice. More times than not, you will be pleased with the outcome.
To collaborate means, “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.” The concept of collaboration will be the most difficult for your young managers to understand. By involving other managers in the decision-making process, younger, more inexperienced managers will feel like they are “asking for help.”
In my opinion, the best leaders know whom to include in their decision-making process. Teach this to your young leaders. The best approach is to include all parties in the decision-making process that will be affected by your decision. If you include them and get their buy-in, you will immediately see how communication and collaboration will start to build that cohesive team.
Cohesion is “the act of forming a united whole.” If you want to puff that chest out and boldly declare that you have formed a great team, your team must be cohesive.
Many companies have group outings or functions to help form that cohesion. Another example is to have regularly scheduled department head meetings.
In my mind, the formula is as simple as Communication + Collaboration = Cohesive team. “Papa Bear” George Halas said it best, “We are one. Together we achieve the goals of individuals.”
Dennis W. Lejeck is the president and founder of Black Knight Security. Dennis is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and has also participated in EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® program. BKS was recognized in 2008, 2015, 2016 and 2017 as one of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Pittsburgh.