8 Powerful Team Collaboration Strategies: The Ultimate Guide
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From the desk of a brilliant weirdo #1: If you struggle with team collaboration, then this article will show you how to use 8 powerful team collaboration strategies to put your team on the same page.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
Here’s Why Team Collaboration Is Important
Out of 1,400 people (executives, employees, and educators) surveyed, 86% said that failures in the workplace were due to poor team collaboration.
Here more statistics and benefits of collaboration in the workplace:
83% of employees collaborate better with the help of technology. Team collaboration software can help integrate your team better.
75% of employees think good teamwork and leadership skills are crucial to the success of their projects. 39% of the surveyed workers believe that their companies and teams can collaborate better.
Project management and collaboration apps can increase productivity by up to 30%.
Using project management tools allows for remote work. And remote work can save employers up to $11,000 per year. Transforming your on-site teamwork into a digital collaboration can actually turn out to be a very successful collaboration technique.
Studies show that 3.7 million employees in the US work remotely at least half the time.
Connected supportive teams that work collaboratively can be up to 21% more profitable - Gallup.
61% of employees experience burnout, and 31% of those suffer from extreme work stress - CareerBuilder.
80% of all employees across the US feel quite some stress due to the lack of effective communication. - Dynamic Signal.
63% of all American employees want to quit their job because poor communication prevents them from doing their job properly.
97% of employees and high-level executives believe that the lack of good team collaboration impacts the project's outcome negatively - Mckinsey.
According to The Economist, 33% of all employees say better team collaboration makes them more loyal.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some...
Team Collaboration Strategies and Best Practices
Here are some solid communication strategies to help you develop effective teamwork.
Set the Team’s Goals
You need to make sure that every person in your team knows the teamwork goals they’re after.
Communicate your team’s goals daily to ensure no misunderstandings occur along the way. It’ll help your teammates stay focused and productive while removing any silos in the team.
Having great leadership and set clear goals will help you build a successful team with the proper collaboration management style of meeting all your deadlines.
You can use daily scrums to sum up your goals.
Start meetings with ice-breaker questions such as “What’s your favorite video game,” or “What’s your favorite place on Earth?,” or “What do you love doing on the weekends,” etc. It’ll set the tone for the meeting lifting up the collaboration spirit.
If the team is new, you can also create a book with mini-bios of each team member. Each bio can include a picture of the person, area of expertise, ways to contact them, favorite movie or hobby, etc.
You can present the book at the first team meeting where everybody can go through it, and get a better idea of their teammates. It helps build a collaborative culture.
Highlight Individuals' Strengths
The next strategy for improving your team’s collaboration is to highlight each team member’s strengths.
If you make your employees feel appreciated and heard, then they are more likely to appreciate their workspace, colleagues, and job.
On the other hand, if you fail to make your team members feel respected, they are more likely to resign.
66% of employees would resign their position if they felt unappreciated. And the number is even higher among millennials - 76%.
Knowing your team members’ strengths will help you organize your project easily without second guessing whether the task you have assigned to person X is more suitable for person Y.
Today, in order to inspire your team and propel them forward you might want to start talking more about productivity as everybody seems to be obsessed with it.
Everyone is in constant pursuit of the 4-hour workweek. And most people think that productivity is all about time management, but in fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many people set daily goals, organize their tasks in bulleted lists, and continue to come up short on meeting their goals.
Still, others manage to pull through quite successfully. We all have the same hours a day.
So what’s the secret?
Some people know how to manage their ATTENTION better and focus on essential tasks that actually impact the outcome.
Attention management has a lot to do with motivation.
If you get your motivation straight, you can complete tasks much faster than if you were to set deadlines and stick to a fixed schedule.
You need to know how to prioritize your tasks better.
For every project, you have A (important) items and B (not as important) items - credits to Scott Berkun.
For example, let’s take a look at the construction of a car.
Your A items will be the tires, the engine, the chassis, etc. If you pull these together, you’ll come up with a car that actually works, even though it’ll be extremely uncomfortable to drive it.
The B items can be the windows, chairs, mirrors, etc. The car can still work without them.
You need to work on your A items first so you can ship your product even in a minimal state if you’re running out of time.
Encourage Honest Feedback
You need to create a collaborative environment where people can feel comfortable to collaborate with others sharing ideas and suggestions. Make sure you avoid criticism, and instead focus on giving constructive feedback.
Utilizing a collaborative leadership style will definitely help you with building out a team that fosters a team-oriented environment. Building a solid communication and collaboration with your team is all that matters.
If you notice introverted people on the call for whom it is harder to get into the conversation, then invite them by asking welcoming questions such as “[Name], what do you think about that?”
When onboarding new team members, make sure you also include them in the loop as it will make the onboarding process faster and smoother.
Be Aware of Common Sense
If you’re doing video meetings, don’t breathe in the microphone, don’t eat on unmute, don’t play with your squeaky chair, and make sure everyone can hear you clearly when you’re speaking.
Get out of the Cubicle
One of the most important strategies of all is to get your team out of the office. Don’t just take them to lunch… organize team-building activities and other teamwork stuff that everybody can enjoy.
Studies show collaborative tools like project management software can tremendously improve team performance. 49% of all the millennials surveyed espouse “social” tools for business collaboration, along with 31% of boomers and 40% of Generation X agreeing.
Use Cross Team Collaboration
Cross team collaboration is when employees from different departments collaborate together to achieve a common goal. It’s a great approach to collaboration in general.
The idea of cross team collaboration is that each employee, stemming from a different background, can come up with unique ways for solving issues that other team members won’t be familiar with. Seeing a particular collaboration problem through a different lens can help you see a much better solution for that problem.
Being part of a cross-functional team can make you feel alive again as you’ll approach your meetings with a different, sort of curious, kind of attitude than your everyday meetings with your regular team members… same office, same people, same shit.
What effective team collaboration skills do you need to have?
Here are 3 of the most essential cooperation skills for developing a collaborative system within your team that puts everybody on the same page:
You gotta be open minded if you want to develop a healthy relationship and establish good communication habits with your teammates.
You should also think long term. Here’s a great quote that emphasizes the importance of long-term thinking - “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
And finally, the collaborative skill of debating is a must. If you learn how to debate, your ideas can always come on top, only if they are good enough (you can’t debate bad ideas cuz your arguments will never beat the arguments of other people’s good ideas.)
Here are 8 tips to win debates by Ben Shapiro:
You gotta decide whether the debate is worth it in the first place - is it worth your time? The worst debate is when you know the opponent has made his mind and can’t be convinced regardless of the facts you throw at him.
Know your opponents. Do an awful lot of research. What are their arguments? How do they argue? What are their tactics?
Disarm your opponent’s most unfair tactics. - people like to use 1 or 2 unfair tactics in general. For example, if you disagree with somebody, he calls you a racist, homophobic, etc. (going at your character). The real reason why a person may be using such an unfair tactic is to avoid the real facts and arguments. How to handle it? - “Hey, we can attack each other’s characters all day long, but let’s focus on discussing the facts.”
Frame the terms of the debate. What questions do you ask? Negative or positive?
Know what you know and know what you don’t know. You might be handed facts that you aren’t familiar with. Your response should be “I didn’t know about these. I’ll check them out and get back to you. But now, let’s discuss what we both know so things can be fair.”
Defend ideas, not individuals.
Demand clarification of terms.
Argue from fundamental principles. The arguments that make the most difference aren’t the ones stemming from facts & statistics, it’s the ones that come from fundamental principles.
How to Inspire Your Team?
What’s the best way to inspire your teammates and improve their performance? - Double their failure rate (this can be your team motto as well).
Encourage them to try new stuff and not to be afraid of failure.
Fear of failure keeps us from unveiling our full potential. Here’s a great quote by Neale Donald Walsch about getting out of your comfort zone - “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Create an enjoyable atmosphere where everybody isn’t just working but having fun as well.
“It’s not what happens to you in life; it’s how you react to it.” - Charles R. Swindoll
Here is Apple’s welcome inspiration quote for inspiring new team members:
You can think of something similar if you want to inspire new team members.
And here are some famous teamwork quotes to keep you and your team motivated along the way:
"It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed." – Napoleon Hill
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." – Henry Ford
"Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up." – Oliver Wendell Holmes
"Politeness is the poison of collaboration." – Edwin Land
"Great teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison." – James Cash Penney
"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment." – Mahatma Gandhi.
There you have it - 8 effective team collaboration strategies to foster healthy and collaborative relationships with your teammates and work better as a team.
Attention management seems to be my favorite so far since you don’t have to worry so much about deadlines.
But cross team collaboration is fantastic as well.
Let me know which one you like, and if you have any other team collaboration ideas or suggestions.
Published at DZone with permission of Momchil Koychev. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.