Communication and Trust: The Power Behind Collaboration
April 30, 2019
By David Moore, Chief Operating Officer, The Bank of Tampa
At The Bank of Tampa, two of our key values are communication and trust. Interestingly, those two values are at the foundation of an important key to success in business: collaboration. It’s more than a buzzword in the digital age. It’s critical to achieving superior results.
When our leadership team at The Bank of Tampa sat down to lay out the floorplan of our new Blanchard Banking Center—a 45,000-square-foot building that boasts a full-service banking office on the ground floor, with two additional floors of office space that will house The Bank of Tampa’s service center—we had a focused goal in mind. This goal was to bring together, under one roof, 115 employees from various offices throughout the Tampa Bay area and place them in an environment literally designed with communication in mind, complete with open cube space and brainstorming rooms. The motivation? The idea that face-to-face communication leads to collaboration.
Organizations like The Bank of Tampa engage with clients and each other through many mediums throughout a typical workday. Through those points of communication, there is no more important aspect to ensure a seamless experience for all involved than collaboration. Teams work together, and break out of their silos, to engage and work together toward one common goal.
At every level, business is about relationships, and relationships are built through communication. Teams forge relationships built on trust and collaboration. Without communication, collaboration cannot exist. And without trust, relationships cannot exist (positive ones anyway). Collaboration occurs when people develop relationships, which are based on trust. And you can’t mandate trust. It’s something that people work to develop over time through positive interactions and results. Relationships, communication, collaboration, trust—it’s all interconnected.
So, you might ask yourself, what are some additional pillars that lead professionals to collaborate successfully?
- Expectations. Decide what you’re able to accomplish and within what timeframe. Learn what every member of your team contributes, in addition to key proficiencies, and use that to your advantage. Define measures of success and reward your team for exceeding them.
- Interpersonal Skills/Emotional Intelligence. We’re not talking about whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. We are simply talking about the skills one uses to interact with other professionals—the skills that enable employees to be productive while playing off social expectations and customs. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control and express your emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships with good judgment and empathy. Emotional intelligence plays a major role in interdepartmental culture and the way we work and communicate with one another. It’s also thought to play a role in how employees manage conflict and stress and impacts overall job performance. Emotional intelligence is about accomplishing your goals while helping others adhere to their own goals.
- Information. Implement a regular education forum and ensure information is shared across functions and departments. This can help to prevent silos from developing. The more everyone involved knows about the inner workings of a project, the more you enable ideas to be shared and the creation of process improvements along the way.
- Constructive Feedback. This runs parallel to communication and should be bidirectional. How comfortable are you and your teammates with giving and receiving feedback? The person giving feedback must deliver it in a meaningful and constructive way, and the person receiving it must understand that feedback is not a personal attack. Everyone is working toward a common goal, and your end product is usually better when you work together to develop the best outcome possible. The key here is for any employee to feel comfortable providing feedback—even to C-suite executives.
- Accountability. If you want to develop collaboration in the workplace, team members need to promote accountability. This means fostering an environment where individuals feel comfortable owning up to a mistake or error, versus sweeping it under the rug or otherwise trying to hide from it. Accountability motivates everyone on a team to do his or her best and correct problems that arise along the way. Accountability allows people to take pride in their work. It isn’t about pointing fingers; it’s about improvement. Use it as a learning tool to improve going forward.
- Commitment. Be motivated by the quality of your work (and by how rewarding your role is). If everyone on the team is committed to success, collaboration is easy to foster.
- Consistency. Hold a frequency to it all. Weekly, monthly, quarterly face-to-face interaction ensures projects continue to move forward.
These skills will not only help you establish communication and collaboration in the workplace, both internally and externally, but they will also help you develop meaningful relationships built on trust and mutual respect. At The Bank of Tampa, we call ourselves a relationship bank. For us, practicing what we preach has been key to our success.