As the legendary basketball player, businessman and philanthropist Michael Jordan once said:

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

While he was speaking about basketball, this same principle holds true in other applications, including the workplace.

Companies that embrace and foster teamwork reap the benefits of increased worker morale, improved productivity, increased innovation, and improved cross-departmental function. According to a study conducted by Cornerstone on Demand, however, 38% of workers believe there’s not enough collaboration in the workplace.

While there are many ways to foster teamwork in the workplace, shared learning is one of the most effective. So, what exactly is shared learning and how can it foster team building in the workplace?

Shared Learning: The Basics

Shared learning is a methodology centered around the continuous collaboration between two or more workers or groups of workers. Far too many companies operate with an emphasis on individualism, segmenting individual workers according to their respective task. But the workplace is one environment in which two heads are better than one.

How Shared Learning Encourages Team Building

One of the ways in which shared learning encourages teamwork is by helping workers learn from their mistakes. As humans, we’re bound to make mistakes from time to time — and that’s okay. Even Albert Einstein made mistakes with his work. If an individual worker makes a mistake, he or she may simply move on, without taking the time to understand what really happened. In a shared learning environment, however, other workers can analyze the problem so everyone can learn from it. This essentially turns a “mistake” into a “learning experience.”

Let’s face it, workers have a higher level of confidence when working in groups. Knowing that other workers are standing by to lend you hand gives you that extra boost of confidence to take risks.

Shared learning also allows specialized workers with specific skills to join forces to achieve a common goal. No two workers have the same skill set. By bringing these workers with different skills together, they can achieve goals that would otherwise not be possible. You can compare this to running a business, such as a restaurant for example. A single person cannot run a restaurant; rather, it takes an entire workforce of skilled chefs, floor managers, food prep workers, dishwashers, hosts and hostesses, etc. Shared learning follows a similar path by bringing together multiple workers with individual, specialized skills.

These are just a few ways that shared learning promotes greater teamwork in the workplace. See below for some tips on how to implement shared learning into your workplace.

Tips for Shared Learning in the Workplace:

  • Encourage workers to collaborate using a variety of platforms, including face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, email and social media.
  • An effective shared learning environment should be flexible and adaptable. As changes occur in the workplace — or the company’s needs — workers must quickly adapt.
  • Give workers the tools they need to share their skills and ideas with others.
  • For larger companies, managers and other “decision makers” should create groups of workers based on their respective talent.
  • Keep track of work accomplished by each group of workers. Using this information, you can optimize the shared learning environment for a higher level of productivity and efficiency.
  • Ask workers for feedback regarding their thoughts on the shared learning environment and how to improve it.
  • Constructive criticism is a fundamental component of shared learning. Workers should provide their own thoughts and input on each other’s ideas.
  • Maintain a positive attitude in shared learning discussions. While constructive criticism is encouraged, workers should keep their discussions positive and uplifting.

To learn more about shared learning and how it impacts team building, contact us today.