Principle 2: Nurture Collaboration
A performing team yields synergistic effects; the impossible becomes possible. This is why active team collaboration is crucial.
Project success is not about individual accomplishments. The project team delivers the project. As such, the team is the heart and soul of the project. A corollary: project success is, or at least should always be, the success of the team. Effective project leaders understand the value and huge potential of teamwork. This is why they actively nurture collaboration. They serve as role models and are part of the team. They thus actively participate and contribute to teamwork.
Collaboration is necessary for the team to achieve the vision and project objectives. By the same token, the project vision must include the concept of collaboration; it needs to be part of the vision as well as the project objectives. Collaboration is a means to achieve the objectives and thus to come closer to achieving the vision. It is a central element of every project. This is why vision and collaboration go hand in hand. You cannot move achieve project results without collaboration. On the other hand, collaboration without a common cause leads nowhere.
Collaboration is the juice of teamwork; it is what makes teamwork possible in the first place. It encompasses communication, individual and joint execution, as well as the delivery of results on both the individual and team level. If you want to nurture collaboration you need to start with yourself. Be a role model to others and share information openly. Give and accept open and constructive feedback. Be a good team player and work with your team.
Understand that the project is about the team. Project leadership becomes team leadership. It implies that if you want to be an effective project leader you have to be a good team player, too.
Nurturing collaboration can be hard at times. It takes a lot of effort and can be quite time consuming. The payoffs, however, are worth every minute invested. Having mutually understood and supported rules of engagement, characterized by open communication and effective collaboration, makes project life much easier.
Once you have helped create an atmosphere of trust, team spirit, and fun, team synergy effects emerge. Magical things can happen, productivity increases, and the quality of the team's deliverables is higher. Nurturing collaboration prepares the ground for performance on the individual and team level. As a project leader you want to cultivate this soil of performance. This leads us to the third leadership principle: promoting performance.