Leadership Slideshow: Nine Secrets to Managing CollaborationBy Don Reisinger | Posted 08-17-2010
Foster Face2Face Communication
Encourage face2face communication. This starts with you. Walk to a team member's office or cubicle to speak with them. Not only will they appreciate it, they will learn that f2f gets work done.
Use Social Tools
Several Twitter-like tools are designed exclusively for companies. One such tool, Yammer, allows employees to create microblogs to communicate. You can set permissions, so only certain employees can view certain messages.
The Best Stuff Is Free
If your team is sharing a document or Excel spreadsheet, encourage them to use Google Docs. The free tool enables real-time collaboration so multiple parties can simultaneously edit or comment on files.
Clearly Define Roles (And Goals)
Whether a project leader or an intern, every member of your team needs to understand to whom they report and what information they can share. Every teammate must grasp the project goals. With everyone on the same page, communication flows freely.
Video Is Your Best Friend
If team members are geographically dispersed, bring video into the mix. Bandwidth speeds and advances in image quality make video a major tool.
Theres Value In Sharepoint
Microsoft's Sharepoint is a fine option if you have the budget. It has several powerful collaboration features not available in the free options mentioned earlier.
Avoid Communication Pyramids
In some teams, the project manager can only communicate with a direct supervisor who can only talk to the next-ranking supervisor. It doesn't work. Everyone in the team needs to be able to communicate with everyone else, regardless of rank.
Try limiting the use of e-mail among teams as much as possible. Remember: face time is absolutely necessary for building strong teams.
IM gives your team members a speedy way to communicate. When face2face communication isn't possible, IM is a better option than e-mail.