How can I promote teamwork & collaboration through openness?

You’re probably aware of the fact that open-mindedness is essential in regards to teamwork and collaboration: just smiling and saying Yes to everything is not going to take you anywhere; neither is shutting down and rejecting every idea. That is why it’s important to discuss what healthy open-mindedness actually looks like and how you too can establish it in your team and company.💡

“Be open-minded.” – “I am!”

Open-mindedness is about sharing your opinion, tackling important topics but also giving honest feedback. However, reminder! – You’re not only on the giving but also the receiving end of all of these aspects. That means openness for feedback and change plays a crucial role, too. It sounds simple to be open-minded in theory – but is it really? 🤔

Being open and honest requires, first of all, courage; you never know how your counterpart is going to perceive your words and actions. At the same time, communication needs to be clear in order to demonstrate, for example, why you want to change something or give constructive, critical feedback. It comes down to two things that successful collaboration requires: a shared understanding and a culture of open-mindedness. Read more about how radical open-mindedness impacts teams in our recent blog article, „6 ways to enable radical candor as a leader“.

Creating a culture of open-mindedness 

Getting ahead with open-mindedness only works if everyone on the team is aware of the goals and open to exchanging ideas and feedback. Wondering how to go about this? Here’s what you can do specifically to promote open-mindedness in collaboration:

  • Lead by example!

Be the first to say something, give constructive feedback and share your honest opinion in a logical, clear manner. When your colleagues see the positive impacts and that “it doesn’t hurt” to just go ahead, they’ll follow suit soon enough.

  • Take your time!

No matter what you’re about to say – positive or negative – be sure to have enough time and focus at hand to be able to explain everything clearly and sufficiently. In some cases, you’ll also need time for finding a solution or discussing further questions. In general, make sure to address issues as early as possible so as to avoid small problems growing into big, success-threatening super-problems.

  • Build trust!

Make sure to establish a certain degree of security and trust between you and your colleagues so that any feedback is taken professionally and at face value instead of personally and offending. 

  • Show agility!

Besides communication and a transparent work ethic, open-mindedness is also about showing agility when it comes to change. While some stay stubborn and “freeze”, clinging on to old plans and ideas, you are able to immediately open up to transformation and welcome change and next steps flexibly. 

  • The team at heart

From a management perspective, making good decisions is often a challenge. This is why you need to be open-minded and trustworthy with your team in order to rely on their expertise and support to always decide in the entire team’s best interest.

Open-mindedness for the entire company  

Unfortunately, an open-minded company culture doesn’t “happen” at the snap of a finger. It’s a process, often lengthy and involving several teams, that you can best drive forward on different levels:

  1. Within your smallest circle

Face-to-face conversations provide the opportunity to speak openly to your colleague, manager, etc. At Leaders21, we have three kinds of these so-called 1-on-1 meetings:

    • Status Quo meetings – Set individual fixed meetings that are going to be repeated on a regular basis (e.g. weekly) with your team leader or colleagues you work with closely. During this meeting, you talk about how your counterpart is doing, what they are currently working on and about workload and project statuses. 
    • Feedback meetings – Each quarter, we take the extra time to give and receive constructive feedback and discuss wishes and expectations. These meetings replace the usually typical “performance reviews” and go both ways: Yes, you give feedback to your team leader here too!
    • Coffee talks – To prevent a silo mentality, we fire up the “random generator” each quarter. The goal here is to exchange thoughts and ideas with three members from other teams in order to get to know each other and their role within the big picture. 
  1. As a team

Use regular check-ins to take a look at the current to-do list as a team and decide on next steps. Make sure to allot enough time for exchanging some learnings and questions: What went well so far? What mistakes did we make and how can we avoid them going forward? Try to avoid talking about small, daily business issues. Instead, schedule a quarterly recap meeting where you focus on collaboration, customer feedback and reflection. 

  1. Company-wide

What does open-mindedness look like at company level? Transparency!

  • OKRs – Through objectives and key results your goals are not only agile, they are also visible and comprehensible for all employees. Read more about this here.
  • All-Hands – Although this term is taken from shipping and seafaring jargon, you will probably not assemble on deck 😉. At Leaders21, we meet in a (hybrid) setting every month where Management gives updates, answers questions and we socialize as a company. 
  • Feedback Wall – Create a shared feedback wall (whether physical or digital) with first names of every employee on which their strengths and space for improvement are noted and kept track of. Not only does this help to promote self-awareness and consideration of others, you can easily leave Thank You’s and praise for your colleagues for them and everyone else to see. 

We are aware that not all of these tips are going to be easily implemented; neither do we have the space or scope in this article to list every single piece of advice on open-minded teamwork. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started: Reflect on your own behavior and direct your thoughts and actions towards being (more) open-minded

You have our support on this journey, every step of the way! 🚀

👉 Maybe you or your team are still missing some understanding and know-how for living or dealing with open-mindedness. Simply let us know and we will provide you with a fitting workshop or training where we combine useful input and practical exercises to get you on track. 

👉 Maybe you need someone to guide you on the way to an open-minded company culture that you can talk to on a regular basis and who can give you useful advice. In this case, we recommend coaching – You can choose from a comprehensive pool of awesome coaches!

👉 Maybe you want to make open-mindedness a clear statement for the entire company and have a designated kick-off to get started. In this case, our summit is the ideal way to do so. It incorporates key people interactively and aims for lasting measurements tailored to your needs. Read more about summits in our success stories!

We’re looking forward to hearing from you and getting started on an open-minded future together! 😊 Fill out the contact form to get in touch.