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If you run a small business, it’s critical that the people you have on your team form positive connections and work together effectively so your business can grow. In fact, collaboration is probably one of the most powerful tools you can have to develop a successful small business.

Think about how there’s power in numbers. Having several people collaborate on ideas often gets a job done quicker and better, and solves problems more effectively.

Here are seven basic guidelines for small business collaboration and improved teamwork.

1. Give Team Members Personality Profile Sheets to Complete

Because a team generally consists of various personalities and diverse people, as well as different skills and experiences, it’s a good idea to have team members fill out personality profiles. Once the profiles are completed, get together to share the results.

Also, use this time to discuss what people like or don’t like regarding tasks, communication methods, and other matters.

2. Assign Team Members Specific Job Descriptions

Be sure each individual member of your team clearly understands his or her individual responsibilities and the unique roles they play for your team. Match a task with a worker’s personality, such as assigning extroverted people to sales work while letting more introverted members be developers or programmers.

Furthermore, ask your team if the tasks you’ve assigned them are reasonable so that there won’t be any unrealistic expectations.

3. Provide Brainstorming Sessions

Give your team members opportunities to brainstorm and ask questions in an environment that’s non-judgmental. This is also a good time to let people express their feelings and encourage them.

If you feel your team needs encouragement because they think they can’t accomplish their goals, ask them why they feel this way and show them ways to succeed.

4. Build Cohesion by Including Team Members on Decisions

Make sure everyone on your team feels like they belong. People tend to be more enthusiastic about working on a team when they’re included in decisions. Thus, try to include everyone on your team when it comes to making decisions. Of course, there are some situations in which this may not be possible.

5. Recognize Quality Work Performance

One of the best ways to promote good teamwork is by rewarding exceptional work performance. For example, you could issue gift certificates or give other appreciation gifts, such as items that have the name of your business or project engraved on them. This can encourage continued quality work performance, as well as make productive team members feel valued so they continue to be vital assets for your team.

6. Devise a Plan for Mediating Disputes

Don’t punish team members for disagreeing with one another. When you have diversity in a group, you can expect to have differences in opinions. When issues do arise within your team, don’t create an atmosphere of blame; cultivate a proactive attitude that’s focused on solutions.

Let’s say you have team members who are unable to turn in all their work on a project. Rather than scolding them, ask them what has already been completed and help them establish a timeline for getting the rest done more efficiently.

7. Schedule Social Activities

It’s important to set aside some casual time where people on your team can get to know one another better. This typically results in improved productivity. Informal gatherings could be events, such as celebrating members’ birthdays or meeting for lunch or coffee. Social events could even be held at resorts on weekends.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Have daily team huddles to give each member of your team the chance to share what they plan to accomplish.
  • Make collaboration consistent and provide resources that can help it work.
  • Invite guest speakers to meet with your team and offer advice on improving their skills and broadening their knowledge in your industry.
  • When issues occur, ask for team members to document their problems and not just orally report them.
  • Use the pronoun “we” instead of “I”. In other words, don’t make the mistake of associating just yourself with your business; refer to the entire team.
  • Set measurable, short-term goals on a quarterly basis. If goals need to be revised, then be willing to do so.

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