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Collaborative Climate

A collaborative climate is most commonly described in the adage, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Teams operating in a truly collaborative climate work well together; trust is a mainstay virtue.

Trust is produced in a climate that includes three elements:

The hallmarks of a collaborative climate can be defined in the following way:

The ability for team members to trust one another is the foundation of a collaborative climate. To assess whether team members fully trust one another, consider the following questions and issues:

In sum, trust is a central, foundational aspect of effective collaboration. Without it, teams are likely to face insurmountable difficulty in conducting their work. Team members may not feel free to voice their opinions, commit to work assignments, challenge one another when necessary, or embrace a collective work process. These problems can be avoided, however, by making a concerted effort to enhance trust among group members. Although this may be a difficult process for those who have not worked as members of a collaborative team in the past, a failure to establish trust will only impede the work of the team.

What are some ways that trust can be enhanced?

One of the ways that teams can begin to engender this kind of trust is to generate ground rules for their work together. Ground rules should be developed as a full team during one of its initial work sessions together. These rules are a written agreement for how team members will conduct themselves and work together as a group. They will provide not only a framework for future interactions, but also a way to help you create the kind of environment that members want to work in.

Click here for a teamwork exercise that will guide your team in the development of ground rules.