Social software tools can change the way; the speed; and the options by which information is exchanged by team members. By leveraging social software tools, managers can quickly and easily set up and coordinate project teams to meet deadlines, deliver results and develop best practices along the way.
Here are some very basic tips on how to use social software to help you foster high performance teams.
- Make your team's expertise highly transparent. Encourage your team members to fill out their business profiles in detail so that you can align and cross reference areas of expertise, interest and experience. This will also give your team the ability to network based on shared experience and interests, as well as opportunities to directly contact one another to resolve issues, get fast answers to pressing questions and remove potential project bottlenecks.
- Ensure from the outset that you establish high levels of communication with your team. This is crucial because output is the result of shared dependencies and establishing trust is based on open communications. According to Forrester, open communication is often associated with high performance. Social software for business places a loaded arsenal of bi-directional communications mechanisms at your fingertips that far exceed email-based collaboration. From blogs and online discussion forums to rating, commenting and sharing, the more outlets you give your team, the better. For example, the ability to comment on blogs enables you to create invaluable opportunities for team members to give and receive feedback.
- Move away from traditional, hierarchical organizational models that can foster distrust and a competitive, unproductive team environment. Instead, concentrate on cooperative models for team performance. Using a virtual team work space creates a sense of focus for all of your team members and contextualizes blogs, wikis, members and documentation within the project itself. You can also use this space to monitor the contributions each team member is making on an individual basis.
- Make sure that everyone has a clearly defined role on your team. Engagement and involvement are key to your team's success. Team members need to feel as though they are in "partnership" with each other. Social software enables you to build teams and assign roles on the fly. Because individual contributions are accessible to the team, respect can be earned and key contributors recognized and rewarded, keeping your team involved and motivated.
Tune in for more tips in my next blog.
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