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We all know how it goes: Your to-do list is a mile long, your schedule is slammed, and now you’re waiting on someone else to finish a project you needed yesterday. Sound familiar? No matter what industry you work in, understanding out how to efficiently use your time will always be a top priority! But what about when it comes to working with your various co-workers?

Understanding the dynamic between each member of your staff is crucial to saving you time and energy as well as helping you run a successful association. But where do you start? Take a look at our three tips on improving your staff collaboration within a diverse association.

Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities

More often than not, trouble begins to brew within your staff when mixed signals are being sent around the office. To nip this in the bud, consider having a live document that outlines each staff member’s job responsibilities. These clear lines will help your co-workers understand who to collaborate with (or approach) about certain projects as well as identify when they might be stepping on someone’s toes.

If you’re not sure as a staff about the overlap, recommend that each coworker take some time to write out a list of their responsibilities (either as a whole or per department) so that you can compare them together as a team. You might find this exercise will illuminate where your co-workers should start collaborating on various projects, hopefully maximizing your resources to provide the best results for your members!

Transparent Project Expectations

One of the first steps in inspiring collaboration in your staff is to establish a foundation of trust. Every employee wants to feel like they can rely on their co-workers, no matter the type of project that you need to accomplish. You can start this process by being very transparent with your staff about your initial expectations (and end results) with a project.

It can be easy to push off due dates if it doesn’t affect you directly. But what about if you are collaborating with a team? By being upfront with your team about how long certain processes will take, it will allow your staff to plan more accordingly and get more done in their day. Otherwise, you’ll oftentimes find staff members hounding other co-workers for details when they just don’t have them.

Understanding Conflict Management Tactics

Frankly, sometimes it’s just hard to get along with everyone. And this is no exception when it comes to your co-workers. To start, we recommend you consider this classic conflict management tactic: Pick your battles. As with any relationship, there has to be some give and take when it comes to collaborating with your co-workers. It’s all about compromise for the good of your members, right?

Another way to avoid conflict is to knock it out before it starts! One way to do this is to urge your staff to take a personality test, like Crystal Knows, to see what style of communication works best for your co-workers. While these tests may not be 100% accurate, it should still help give you a clearer picture of how your co-workers operate.

It’s no secret that the employee turnover rate in the association space and nonprofit industry is quite high. To prevent that from happening, it’s best to just have a standard new hire onboarding process in place. Check out these Best Practices for Onboarding New Staff to see how!