There are few things more powerful for a leader than having a team that works together, listens, and then builds on the ideas of others. This is especially true when it comes to brainstorming and problem-solving focused on a range of things such as challenges that a business faces, the need for a shift in culture or practice within an organization, or the creation of new ideas and opportunities. A team that is willing to build on the ideas of its members will always be more successful than one that’s not. So, how do you create a team dynamic that encourages collaboration and listening? Let’s dive in with a few tips.
Encourage Open Discussion
One of the most important things you can do as a human centered leader is to create an environment where open discussion is encouraged. Make sure everyone on your team has a chance to speak up and share their ideas without fear of judgement or criticism from other members. It’s also important that you actively listen to each person’s input, so make sure you take time in meetings for each person to share their thoughts. This will create an atmosphere where every voice matters and people feel comfortable and safe contributing their ideas.
Give Positive Feedback
When someone does share their idea, make sure you give them positive feedback for doing so. Let them know that their idea was heard, appreciated, and considered. Even if you end up going with another option in the end, make sure they know that their input was valuable and appreciated by the team as a whole. This will encourage others on your team to come forward with their own ideas in the future without fear of judgment or criticism.
Once everyone has had a chance to share their ideas, it’s time for the real fun—teaming or collaborating! Having everyone work together as a team will help bring out even more creative solutions than any individual could have come up with alone. We often use post-it notes and large boards and set some ground rules to ensure that all of the ideas are captured. Encourage everyone on your team to think outside the box and build off each other’s ideas until you reach the best possible solution for your problem at hand. Don’t forget—there are no wrong answers here, this should be a no judgement zone! Even if something doesn’t work out perfectly in the end, it may lead down an avenue of thought that eventually gets you where you need to go.
At its core, listening to others is about creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable and safe sharing their thoughts without fear of judgement or criticism from other members on the team. Once this type of dynamic has been established within your group, building off each other’s ideas becomes much easier—and more enjoyable!
Try incorporating these tips into your next meeting or set up a focused brainstorming session around a challenge that your team is facing. As a human centered leader, you are responsible for setting the stage for a winning team dynamic—one where each member feels heard and respected. The result? A highly successful, collaborative and productive team where creativity and innovations are abundant!