Eight keys to develop your team into a highly effective collaborative team

Today I’d like us to focus on the importance of building collaborative teams and I’ll share a few valuable keys to build your team. Always remember that we are not silos working alone but a team of individuals. When we embrace our uniqueness and work together as one our collective reward is greater efficiency.

Certain personality types find it more challenging to embrace diversity and to optimise collective team talent. However I encourage all team leaders to work with their team members and allow all to participate in a productive, collaborative manner. You continuously have to focus on improving your team’s performance in order to deliver service excellence.

As leaders you have to exercise self-awareness daily. Constantly assess your own attitude, values and behaviour. Be cautious not to isolate your team members from participating because you want to get the job done. Work together and build your team.


Every team leader should use these 8 keys to build greater collaborative teamwork, ensuring overall success and sustainability:

Devote time to build an open plan, open door policy.

As a leader, be highly visible and accessible. Foster communication. Break down barriers that create the impression that you are not accessible. At BOSASA MBP we have purposefully created open plan areas for various teams. This encourages relationship building and demonstrates a commitment to collaboration. Make time to work with your team.

Display collaborative behaviour.

It has been proven in many large organisations that where leaders display collaborative behaviour themselves, their team members work well together.

Develop relationships and stability in your team.

When you have too many new team members suddenly working together or a high staff turnover, your team may be unwilling to share their knowledge. Keep a stable core team. They are important role players who will encourage new team members to foster collaboration.

Be clear on roles and avoid task ambiguity.

Cooperation increases when your team members’ roles are clearly defined, yet at the same time you give your team the freedom on how to achieve your collective objectives and goals.

Be a giver.

Mentor and coach your team members – especially on an informal basis – assist your team to build strong networks that they will need to work with across various disciplines. Teach your team to collaborate. Share your knowledge freely! By doing this, you are strengthening your team performance.

Make sure that you have the required skills in your team.

If you don’t already have these soft skills it will be worthwhile to attend short courses that teach you how to build relationships, communicate more effectively and resolve conflict in a creative way. At BOSASA we encourage team leaders to study at our in-house institution, Watson Corporate Academy to obtain the necessary people management skills.

Support a strong sense of belonging.

When your team members feel a sense of belonging, they are more comfortable to reach out to one another and more likely to share their experience and knowledge.

Be task and relationship orientated.

Find the balance between task and relationship orientation. As a leader, you must guide your team to execute required tasks and build strong relationships in the process.

In the beginning of a new task or project, focusing more on the task orientation and then shifting toward relationship orientation once the work has gained momentum and is in progress, is a winning combination!

Collaboration is imperative. To strengthen your team’s capacity for collaboration requires a combination of long-term commitment – in building relationships and trust, consistently developing a culture where the leaders are role models of collaboration – and decisions about how you form your teams, define roles and articulate challenges or tasks.

Today’s working environment demands diversity, long-distance co-operation and globally relevant expertise. It’s important to continuously align your team structure with the increasing demands of your environment. Collaboration is key!

This is the challenge of today’s business leaders and our BOSASA leaders: Synergy and collaboration at all levels!

Gavin Watson

Gavin Watson

Gavin Watson is the founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of the BOSASA Group of Companies. Watson has successfully navigated all aspects of BOSASA since inception and continues to ensure deliverables of excellence. He established a client-focused, system driven Group that operates on Word Class standards. Gavin Watson is known for his historical contribution to the transformation of South Africa at great risk to himself and his family during the Apartheid years, leading to a new democratic dispensation. Affectingly known at “Nkokheli” which means “leader, Gavin Watson is a powerful motivator, an exceptional entrepreneur and a force for positive change in South Africa.
Gavin Watson