I recently wrote a blog about "The Value of Belonging and Building Belonging at Work." If you haven't had a chance to read it, we discuss why we need to build belonging within our teams to create a more welcoming environment and how to do it. Belonging at work means that team members feel like their contributions are welcomed and valued.

One of the most significant ways to build belonging is through collaboration. However, creating opportunities for collaboration can be tricky because while it is so important, it relies heavily on how your team currently operates.

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Start by asking yourself how does your company promote collaboration? Then, how does your team collaborate? If they don't, why not? Are there opportunities available to collaborate, or is their work siloed? 

As a leader, you play a huge part in the day-to-day of your employees and their experience within the company. If there's a lack of belonging, implement opportunities for collaboration to create a more inclusive environment and a workplace where your team feels valued. 

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In our last article, we discussed getting to know your team members as more than employees, getting them involved in conversations, and in terms of collaboration, we discussed asking your team what they enjoy and providing them opportunities to work on what they like.  

When getting to know your team it's important to also understand team dynamics. Understand which teammates work well together and enjoy working together. Then, as projects come up, provide opportunities for them to work together while still making it an inclusive project and environment. 

It's important to spend time with your team and understand their dynamic. For example, do certain team members not get along? Are they too different? Do they have similar interests? And so on. Age range, likes, dislikes, work ethic, interests, and more impact how teams work together. As a manager and leader taking the time to understand the dynamic will allow you to provide more opportunities to collaborate. 

When team members feel like they belong, their interest in work grows, their confidence grows, and your ability to create an environment where your team feels valued and heard leads to a better operating team. 

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As you provide opportunities for collaboration within your team, look to see if what you're doing is helping. If the collaborative efforts you've put in place are working and if it's creating belonging within your team. 

This can include asking for feedback in:
  • What you're doing 
  • What you can do more/less of 
  • If they have any preferences 
Managers - it's OK not to have the answers, and there's no one size fits all for collaboration and belonging. So check in with your team - do they have any feedback? Are the efforts you're putting in aligning with what they want?

Creating collaborative opportunities and building belonging takes time. As leaders, you must take that time to get to know your team, their interests, goals, and wants because belonging comes from humanizing your team members and valuing them for the people they are and the work that they do. 

Using collaboration to build belonging is a big task and involves quite a bit of work for managers. It takes time but is worth it in the long run. Creating an environment where team members feel important and not like they're "taking up space" can help with workflow, create a better team member experience, help avoid losing great employees, and create a better, more productive team. If you're ready to take the steps to create opportunities for collaboration and build belonging, but you need a little bit of support, schedule a complimentary call to discuss accomplishing your goals through coaching sessions, team-building events, or virtual sessions.
Feeling drained, overwhelmed, or stuck with work or your team? 

Don't worry, you're not alone! Let's tackle it together with a free strategy kickoff.
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