Come Together as a Team

leadership transition Jul 13, 2021

By Maite G. Latorre

When undertaking a major initiative like starting a new organization, teams rely on diverse, highly qualified individuals to thrive. For some initiatives teams are  assembled rapidly to fulfil an immediate need and collaborate virtually, sometimes over different places. 

During the pandemic, teams have welcomed new members, and many have only met virtually. Others have only seen their colleagues online and are gathering in person for the first time in over a year.  

If you’re reading this and realize you are in this position, don’t worry. Instead, place an emphasis on transparency, integrity, and trust. These qualities evolve over time as people share their diverse experiences. Trust may grow on its own, but because teams must get to work quickly, they must work toward a trustworthy relationship from the beginningHere are some practices to help you build collaboration and bring your team together, no matter what stage you’re in:   

Establishing a Sense of Community - Your team is working toward a shared objective, even if it doesn't always seem like it.

If things are getting overwhelming, take a step back and think about what you're all attempting to achieve.

Consider the main deliverables and priorities for which the entire team is responsible. Bring everyone together to talk about what success looks like and how you can all work together more effectively. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started today:  

  • Begin by having genuine conversations with all the team members. Inquire about a person's interests such as hobbies, summer vacation plans, or what they did over the weekend. Having something to chat about other than work helps to break the ice and connect on a deeper level. These friendly exchanges will speed up relationship building. 
  • Another idea is to host a team lunch, coffee, or another engaging activity. You don't need a lot of money to have a good time: go to a free outdoor performance or bring a picnic to a local park. When the pressures of rushed meetings and deadlines are removed, everyone may relax their guard. The friendships you form outside of meetings will remain with you in the future.   

Accepting Everyone’s Limits  - No one is an expert in every field. Under ideal circumstances, every one of us is aware of our own talents and flaws. Other team members have their own talents and limitations, which is why collaboration, when done effectively, can be such a wonderful thing.  

Strong personality types, on the other hand, may have a hard time working together. Almost all of us have had unpleasant collaborations in the past at some point. If we allow them, those unpleasant experiences may influence future connections. Collaboration is most effective when everyone can put the past behind them. 

Recognizing the Importance of Transparency on All Fronts - Losing “power” isn't generally something board members want to do, but it's something they can work on. People on both sides must relinquish control and share power in order to collaborate. All members must establish a degree of confidence that permits them to “share control, power and responsibilities”. 

The easiest approach for boards to overcome this is to search for opportunities to talk about trust. Everyone must exercise patience and maintain open channels of communication. 

Celebrate Your Milestones and Successes  - It’s time to celebrate! You’ve accomplished a significant milestone or final deadline. Celebrating your team's accomplishments will bring members closer together, promote dialogue, and increase happiness 

Celebrations, like acknowledgment and appreciation, don't have to be extravagant, but they should be held frequently. By doing so, you'll be able to incorporate them into your team's culture, and the advantages will be more long-lasting and powerful. You're also reminding them that your goals are attainable and worthwhile, which will keep people motivated. 

“From the very first board meeting, boards should work toward building an environment of trust. That’s no small feat for a group of strong leaders who may be relative strangers to each other. Honesty, integrity and trust are highly important for boards because nearly all of the work they perform together requires collaboration.” How to Improve Collaborations With Your Nonprofit Board 


Further Reading:  

Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams, Harvard Business Review  

How to Turn a Bunch of "Independent Workers" Into a Cohesive Team That Gets Along, The Muse 

12 Easy Ways to Improve Workplace Teamwork, Jostle  

How to Improve Collaborations With Your Nonprofit Board, Board Effect  



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