02 Apr The Ultimate Guide for Improving Team Collaboration
Team collaboration is often discussed in the workplace, as it can be beneficial to bring together teams and individuals with different skills.
While poor team collaboration can impede success, effective collaboration can help you reach your full potential in business.
The saying “teamwork makes the dream work” captures the essence of successful collaboration in the workplace.
It’s like a choir singing together, each person has their own voice but when they sing together, it creates beautiful harmony.
But what does harmony, hand in hand with collaboration, look like in practice?
Is group collaboration in a workplace the holy grail of business, something desired but unachievable?
We believe that group collaboration is not only achievable but also something that every business should strive for.
In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to achieve this ideal in your own working place.
Let us lead you through the steps you can take to create and maintain effective team collaboration.
We will demonstrate why a collaborative approach has such a positive effect on project success and company productivity.
What Is Team Collaboration?
For better understanding of team dynamics and collaboration management, let’s define what a team is to begin with.
A team is a group of individuals who share a common goal and work together towards accomplishing that goal.
If you have ever been a team leader, you may have wondered how to get your team rowing in the same direction.
What is the secret ingredient that successfully brings together differently-skilled individuals in teams?
In point of fact, there is no one secret ingredient for productive group collaboration.
We will introduce you to the essential ones in the following paragraphs.
These key ingredients should be of great help when creating your own recipe for making an efficient and collaborative team.
What does team collaboration involve?
Team collaboration involves a group of people with different skills and insights working together in the same direction with a creative, engaged, and problem-solving approach.
How a team dialogues and works together has a striking impact on how successful a team is in achieving its set goals.
For achieving successful team collaboration and team’s goals you should take into account some of these key elements.
1-Respect and tolerance between group members
Whether you are a manager, a team leader, or a workshop facilitator, always bear in mind that the group in front of you is a group of diverse individuals.
One of the key points for effective collaborative work is having tolerance and showing respect for your fellow members of a team and for the project itself.
Showing respect for your teammates will encourage everyone to shine and do their best instead of doubting each other’s competencies and skills.
Demonstrating tolerance for beliefs or opinions that are different from your own will help you grow a sense of mutual trust within the group.
2-Make sure that everyone in the group feels understood
Avoid misunderstandings and discomfort by focusing and listening to a person speaking or presenting. Encourage paying attention to a speaker and initiate asking additional questions.
This will show that every group member’s opinion matters and that they are heard. With additional Q&As a group will have a nice opportunity to sum up presented ideas.
3-Keep an open mind
Open-mindedness in a group implies accepting new ideas and out-of-the-box suggestions, showing tolerance and flexibility. It means opening yourself to perspectives viewed from a different angle then usually. Let’s just say that rigorousness and strictness do not ally with an open-minded approach.
Open minded team members will lightly produce creative strategies, come up with efficient plans, and develop original solutions and outcomes. Step out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizon with new and insightful ideas.
You get the picture and see where we are heading?
Now let us walk you through some basic steps on how to efficiently work together as a team, facing a group of individuals, and get the most out of every team member.
How to Work Together as a Team? Basics.
If your goal is to create and maintain positive working relationships, start with supporting a collaborative approach and teaming up.
Working together as a team is a challenging experience but with the right approach and developing some crucial skills, you are on the right track to succeed.
Encourage interaction and master the art of team conversation.
Team members usually take the time to discuss how to achieve a specific goal together as a team as well as setting up individual goals. Face-to-face interactions are an excellent way to encourage such a discussion and team collaboration.
Don’t be shy and sit in a circle as if you were having a casual dinner party. It will encourage open dialogue and with gentle guidance, it can lead to some really insightful conclusions.
Watch out and embrace yourself for a burst of great ideas once you set up a positive conversational atmosphere for everyone.
Setting up a collaborative team is a tough job. Teams are made up of individuals with distinct areas of expertise, personality, and behavior traits.
If you are leading a team, grow your collaborative skills and help team members to take part in group problem-solving and decision-making activities.
The risk here is that a group can fall down the rabbit hole of mutual and unconstructive criticism.
You can easily avoid this common situation by setting a good example yourself, and giving constructive and useful feedback when the group is exchanging ideas.
Insightful approaches on team and business leadership can help you pave the path to good and productive team collaboration.
Take for example Steve Jobs’ innovative leadership style and how he sees business:
Great things in business are never done by one person; they're done by a team of people. – Steve Jobs
When leading a team make sure to set clear goals and define everyone’s roles and responsibilities without any vagueness or ambiguity.
4-Don’t forget to have fun!
Facing challenges and overcoming them as a team is hard work. So don’t forget to focus your vibes on building positive relationships among team members in order to assure success.
Being productive doesn’t mean that everybody should feel miserable and overwhelmed.
If you want to guide your team to become more productive you can challenge them and bring their focus to solving a specific task.
Whenever your team successfully completes a challenge, they improve their skills in analyzing, discussing, and fixing issues. Plus, people find it enjoyable and it doesn’t feel like work!
The rewards from completing a challenge are invaluable. So why not give it a try?
What Are the Benefits of Team Collaboration?
Productive collaboration that gets things done is mutually beneficial for employees as well for the company they work for.
Let’s highlight the most valuable benefits of team collaboration:
1-Team collaboration contributes to problem-solving
Instead of going around in circles when faced with a bump in the road, it is wiser to use all assets you have in one team. Gathered together, team members bring their knowledge, skills and talents to the table. An exchange of ideas will give some new perspectives for the problem ahead and help deliver some handy solutions.
2-Team collaboration enhances engagement and productivity
It is a fact that team members are focused on their own role, responsibilities and tasks. But if we look at the big picture and consider the entire project, collaborative work takes the project to a more productive and successful finish.
When a group is working together, everyone participates and contributes equally.
3-Team collaboration provides learning opportunities
In every team work individuals bring different backgrounds into the group and share it with others. It is an amazing opportunity for building a learning culture in your company.
Besides learning from each other, a valuable benefit of teamwork is the process of learning together from the successes and failures.
4-Team collaboration improves personal satisfaction and social relationships
When you bring together people with different professional backgrounds you have a chance to tighten up the relationship between your colleagues. Once the social interactions are established and encouraged, people will grow bonds and friendships that bring them closer together.
Creating new social relationships will have a positive influence on the work atmosphere and employee’s personal satisfaction.
5-Team collaboration increases employee retention
Setting a collaborative environment in your company encourages employees to become appreciated and valuable members of a group. This will create a workplace with fulfilled and satisfied professionals who won’t feel the need to look for their happiness elsewhere.
Keeping valuable assets, such as satisfied professionals and motivated employees, will greatly contribute to your company’s success.
How to Easily Improve Team Collaboration
If you are a business owner, project manager, or workshop facilitator, trying to achieve a collaborative environment in your own company, we have a few tips for you to help you avoid common difficulties.
1-Guidelines, rules and goals
Avoid frustrations and never-ending projects by setting up clear and structured guidelines, rules, and goals ahead of time.
If you define smaller objectives and overall goals at the beginning of the project, you are more likely to create an efficient team collaboration.
Explaining clearly what is expected of each team member at the very beginning will save you lots of headaches further down the road.
2-Reward team success
In a collaborative approach it is preferable to reward team achievements instead of individual results.
It is a simple way to dodge any unpleasant competitions between employees.
Acknowledge the team effort and results when the goal is reached.
Sudden bursts of remote working set up new standards and opened the door for fascinating opportunities in collaborative work. The collaboration tools are playing an important role in this new era.
Here are just some of our favorite tools:
Butter: Butter is an all-in-one virtual collaboration platform that enables you to host engaging and productive collaborative sessions.
Notion: Managing a team remotely or in person requires a top-notch organization. Notion is a workspace with features like task management, project monitoring, virtual teams set up.
Miro: Miro is a visual whiteboard collaboration platform that enables your team to create together.
Figma: Figma is the collaborative interface design and whiteboard tool built to design, prototype and gather feedback in one place.
Organizing a workshop gives you an opportunity to deal with a particular problem or situation in a structured and guided approach.
Led by a professional facilitator or by yourself, the workshop is a proven method for gathering a team to work together on a specific issue, delivering solid results and decisions.
The benefit of facilitating a workshop is that it helps create unity, collaboration and partnership. Since everyone’s participation is encouraged and welcomed, a workshop is an opportunity to build new relationships and strengthen existing connections between colleagues.
Learn more about the benefits of organizing a workshop for your business in this article: What Is a Workshop and How It Can Boost Productivity?
Team collaboration is about making sure everyone is working towards the same goal, communicating effectively, building trust, embracing diversity, utilizing technology and creating opportunities for team bonding and individual growth.
In summary, there is nothing that will boost productivity better than a group of highly motivated professionals working together as a team.
By following the mentioned strategies, we can work together like a well-oiled machine and achieve great things.
We hope that we have inspired you with our tips to team up and motivate your colleagues for some productive teamwork.
At Design Sprints Studio, we help teams collaborate more effectively by throwing amazing workshops that bring out the best in everyone.
Working hard is never a problem if you have experienced professionals such as engaging and motivated workshop facilitators on your side.
Be sure to read our article if you want to learn more about the basics of facilitating successful workshops.
Get in Touch
We would love to hear about challenges you are facing in your business and help you initiate and maintain a collaborative workforce in your company.
We are available via email and phone to answer any questions you may have about our services and to provide additional information.