Workplace Slideshow: Toxic Relationships at Work

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 02-02-2011

Create buffer zones

Employees need a safe place to work and speak freely without being confronted by others.

Create buffer zones

Establish a “neutral zone”

This is a space that's welcoming to groups on all sides of a divide, thus avoiding "home-field advantage" for anyone.

Establish a “neutral zone”

Encourage community building

Launch Web 2.0 resources where team members&#151 regardless of their department or status&#151can collaborate and innovate. Incorporate fun logos and other identifiers within projects.

Encourage community building

Create a narrative of success

In recapping your successes, try to include every team member in the story you tell. It demonstrates that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

Create a narrative of success

Set team goals

Challenge groups with goals that cannot be achieved by any single person. This means individual roles within a team must have unique value.

Set team goals

Four ways to cultivate collaboration:

1. Create "Attractor Spaces." A lounge area with big flatscreen, communal dining and other appealing shared areas break down barriers and encourage brainstorming/problem-solving.

Four ways to cultivate collaboration:

Four ways to cultivate collaboration:

2. Create in-house company directories that include personal as well as professional profiles so real people emerge, as opposed to your team members being seen as "the tech geeks."

Four ways to cultivate collaboration:

Four ways to cultivate collaboration:

3. Build Leadership Networks. Encourage brown-bag lunches, invite in-house talent to speak at leadership sessions, celebrate milestones and find other ways to bring people together and inspire leadership empowerment.

Four ways to cultivate collaboration:

Four ways to cultivate collaboration:

4. Get out! Meaning, out of the office. Bowling parties, soccer or softball leagues and similar efforts help you shred formality and hierarchy and enable your employees to overcome their differences.

Four ways to cultivate collaboration: