The importance of information sharing among teams Published March 28, 2022 By SMSgt Elise Redziniak, First Sergeant, AF Life Cycle Management Center Commentary: Sharing information among a team is advantageous in so many ways. A culture of sharing starts with the leadership who are open to sharing their story. This can be of obstacles, successes, experience, knowledge and lessons learned. Another way to incorporate sharing is to ask for each section of a work area to explain what they do so the team can utilize the talents and abilities of each section when working on a project. Create collaboration as a part of everyday work by highlighting the positive outcomes versus the negatives as some people may view collaboration or sharing an obstacle to completing their work in a timely manner. Create a knowledge sharing culture by leading by example by sharing information as it becomes available and ensure that everyone is included. Be transparent with the "why" behind sharing information and provide examples when the team did the same and the success that followed. Another great way to build a culture of sharing is to start from the moment a new employee walks through the doors with the onboarding process. Consider matching each new hire to a seasoned mentor. This is helpful as the new employee will know who to go to in order to answer questions and receive training. A new employee brings a fresh perspective to the organization so it is helpful to ask for their input on processes and the work center while also making them feel valued almost immediately. This will set a tone for good cross communication and retention of the team. Another great side effect of sharing is that it creates a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and a space for the team to interact with one another. This builds trusting relationships for sharing work information and is helpful if a co-worker needs a confidante. Sharing information with new employees in a work center ensures continuity of projects and drives learning within an organizational culture. Also, sharing information can help build trust among co-workers with open lines of communication by not withholding data that can lead to a competitive environment. With trust comes team building and cohesion among the work center which ultimately drives high quality products. Provide opportunities to build relationships: Pre-pandemic, this could look like having coffee together while talking in a common area. When teams know each other beyond work and on a personal level, they will feel more comfortable to openly share ideas. Even in the virtual world, there are opportunities to share and collaborate such as an icebreaker question before a meeting or asking the team to post pictures of their families, pets, children or from what hobbies they’ve tried out. Virtual opportunities are another way to gather and learn from one another. Recently, we hosted a virtual First Term Officer Center course and we found ways to connect the class by talking about social activities and hardships of work/life balance during the pandemic. Since we are in a virtual environment, ask the team to decide on an app to upload any changes or information to keep everyone on the same page. Lastly, be approachable! People will not want to ask questions from someone who is not friendly. This means maintaining a kind, patient, and non-judgemental demeanor to create a psychological safe place for the team.