Trust creates an environment that encourages team members to communicate openly and more effectively.

In turn, better communication paves the way to a deeper understanding between team members.

Here are five strategies that can help team members enhance the level of understanding among themselves, which will in turn enhance the level of collaboration within the team:

Be genuinely curious

Learn more about your teammates, their interests, background and even their family.

In Asia, most people like to talk about their family, children, pets or home.

By being genuinely interested in others, you will get to understand their likes, dislikes and what motivates them.

Gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of the people you work with closely on a daily basis will go a long way in maintaining the trust they have in you and vice versa. 

Show genuine care

Demonstrate that you genuinely care for your teammates.

Be concerned about their well-being, their welfare and their work, with the view of developing one another for the good of the team.

It is worthy to note that a key characteristic of a dysfunctional team is members who care only for themselves. They are always looking out for opportunities for self-glory by trying to outdo one another.

3 Ask for help

I have observed over the years that most people do not ask for help when they need it.

Even when they are faced with an overwhelming problem or a seemingly insurmountable challenge, most people prefer to keep their problems to themselves.

One reason for this behaviour is the need to put up a facade and “look good” to others.

Some may feel that asking for help makes them look incompetent.

In Asia, most people shy away from asking for help because they fear they will “lose face”.

However, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is a sign of strength because it takes a highly self-aware and self-confident person to be able to admit that he needs help in solving an issue or overcoming a challenge.

By reaching out to your teammates, you are providing them with an opportunity to know you better and to help you overcome your challenges and achieve your objectives.

Volunteer help

Don’t wait for someone to ask you for help before you extend a helping hand.

Be on the lookout for team members who may be struggling with their work.

If you suspect someone is grappling with an issue, reach out and ask if you can help. Be genuine about wanting to help and do not expect favours in return.

Genuine reciprocity can become a very powerful force that propels your team to greater heights.

Listen with your heart

What separates a cohesive team from a dysfunctional one is the ability of its members to listen to one another with empathy.

Team members must listen with the intention to understand, not to undermine; and to empathise, not to criticise.

They must also listen with the intention to help, assist and support; and not to outdo or undo one another.

Try following the golden rule that says, “Seek to understand more than to be understood”.

In conclusion

Finally, authenticity, honesty and sincerity are the hallmarks of a truly cohesive team.

A team can be truly successful only when its members take the effort to understand one another and are willing to subordinate their own personal goals to achieve the team’s overall goals and objectives.

Team members need to be genuinely interested in one another, show genuine care and concern, and learn to listen with empathy.

As Napolean Hill, an accomplished author and adviser to American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said: “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”

Article by Steven Lock, author and high performance strategist of FutureTHINK! Training and Consultancy LLP, a firm that helps organisations reach peak performance through leveraging high performance teams. For details, visit www.futurethink.com.sg