February 7, 2023

7 Tips For Developing Collaboration Skills

Collaboration is an important skill that can help you succeed in any organization. It’s the ability to work productively with others to reach a common goal. Whether it’s team members, colleagues, or partners, collaboration helps us create better solutions and achieve our goals faster.

Developing strong collaborative skills won't only make you a more effective leader but also build trust among your peers and boost morale in the workplace. But how do you develop these skills?

Here are seven tips for developing good collaboration skills so that your team can be successful no matter what project they take on!

RELATED: Virtual Business: Why Teamwork Is Important For Success

7 Ways to Develop Your Company Collaboration Skills

1. Set a Shared Vision and a Common Goal

Your business needs to have a clear vision. It describes what your company aspires to be. Without it, your organization would just go round in circles and achieve nothing.

Coming up with a vision may be easy. However, getting your employees on the same page may be difficult. They would be needing guidance from you so their performance would align with the vision. 

Afterward, tie your vision to achievable, realistic, and timely goals. Make them relevant to your team members. Once they feel that their work has meaning, they'll be more engaged and motivated to contribute to your company’s success.

It's your responsibility to discuss this direction with your employees. You also have to clarify your expectations of them and their roles individually and in their team.

Communicating these principles will benefit not only you and your employees but the organization as a whole. Discussions can lessen and eliminate confusion among your team members.

You can also talk about the opportunities awaiting them! This can lead to members producing desirable results for the company.

You can conduct a meeting to cover all the essential points. Alternatively, you can set up an online conference if you're managing a remote project team. Use this platform as well to keep the participants updated with changes happening within the group.

When there's a given project, begin by talking about specific and measurable goals. Set realistic timelines and clear expectations, too.

Assign responsibilities to each member at the onset. Make sure that everyone agrees on what they need to contribute for effective collaboration.

Ensure that all your employees realize the importance of their collaborative work. This way, you’ll be assured that everyone's embracing a common purpose and achieving a common goal.

collaboration skills

2. Create a Culture of Open Communication 

Collaborative communication entails open discussion. In this type of setup, you’re giving your employees a chance to present their own ideas.

Instead of only one speaking in a gathering, encourage employees to engage in a collaborative discussion. Influence them to be a part of difficult conversations. Let them share knowledge and opinions during brainstorming sessions to develop their interpersonal skills, too.

Once they speak, know how to listen closely. Working with others requires good communication skills, such as being an active listener. Active listening shows that you're attentive to what people are saying, not just hearing them.

While you may have your thoughts on a whole project, make sure to consider your employees’ insights as well. You may have differing perspectives on an issue, but it’s critical that you consider their ideas without judgment.

Build a collaborative workplace by being open-minded. Remember that you can also benefit from new perspectives when it comes to decision-making.

You may deal with opposing views by negotiating and trying to reach a compromise. This way, you’re breaking down the walls, meetings become more fruitful, and problem-solving becomes easier. Developing and sharing knowledge can result in breakthrough solutions!

It would also be helpful to determine your employees’ different communication styles. During collaborations, a difference in viewpoint might just be a difference in style or approach. You may have the same goal but various ways of achieving it.

Additionally, make sure that all channels of communication in your organization are open. Use high-tech resources. Platforms including emails and mobile channels should be in place, too. 

3. Encourage Transparency and Build Trust

In any type of collaboration, trust is key. It's a basic human need and is the foundation of healthy relationships.

However, trust is difficult to earn yet easy to lose. It might take a long time to develop, but only one situation can make it vanish completely.

One way of building trust in the workplace is by fostering transparency. Once you've established transparency, your employees would feel that they can share ideas and problems.

Building trust in your organization also starts with you—the leader. You must have the confidence to put your trust in your employees. Leaders must also be role models, and you must put your words and promises into action.

Begin by being transparent about the position and direction of your team or business. This means going beyond your company goals and objectives. You also have to be honest about any challenges that might affect your employees and organization.

When your members ask tough questions and you don’t have answers to them yet, be transparent about it, too. Don’t avoid tough subjects. Your employees might interpret this as secrecy, which can affect the trust between you and your members.

Keep in mind that a lack of trust can cause damaging results. When your members feel that they can’t rely on their team leaders and colleagues, they lose the connection with the company's culture and values. It can also result in a negative view of one another’s intentions.

In addition, your employees won’t share new ideas, won't support one another, and won't go the extra mile. They would hold back on their outputs. These can hurt the collaboration in your organization. 

collaboration skills

4. Promote Awareness to Develop Collaboration Skills

Utilizing emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, is essential for workplace collaboration. It refers to your ability to recognize and control your emotions.

As an entrepreneur, you have to be aware of how you deal with stressful situations. Knowing who you are and how your employees see you is fundamental to lasting relationships. Self-aware leaders are as successful as self-aware groups.

Pay attention to your behavior, strengths, and weaknesses. Remember that overconfidence, ignorance, blind spots, and assumptions can affect performance at work.

If you need help in a certain field, approach a team member who has expertise in this area. As a result, you can collaborate effectively, and bridge any competency gaps. 

You also have to inspire self-analysis among your team members. However, you have to start it on your own. Being self-aware is crucial before you create self-awareness in your organization. Demonstrate authenticity so your employees would do the same with their coworkers.

Furthermore, you have to understand your members. Recognize the thoughts and emotions behind their behavior. This way, you’ll be able to form situations where you can bring out the best in them.

In the long run, being aware of your feelings and behaviors can generate better solutions. Be patient, make it a habit, and commit to being self-aware every day.

5. Respect Differences

Your employees are all different because of their personality, lifestyle, culture, and principles. Avoid trying to make everyone think and act the same.

Instead, embrace diversity and lead diverse teams. Celebrate their differences, respect their views, and use their good ideas to achieve successful collaboration. Acknowledge that your employees have unique talents and skill set that they can bring to the table.

You may schedule a talk with your employees to get to know them better. Determine where they can contribute the most. In effect, they would feel involved, supported, and fairly treated. 

Your employees may have disagreements with their teammates. However, this doesn’t mean that they have to ignore differences, disrespect them, and cross boundaries.

Lack of respect would just get in the way of how employees work and can damage their relationships. Teach your members how to be a team player, how to set their egos aside, and how to respond with politeness.

As a business owner, you have to lead by example. Keep in mind that your words and actions can influence your people. Treat them the way you want to be respected. Promote good manners and an attitude of respect.

With the right approach, your employees’ differences would improve their collaboration skills and bring fairness and humanity to the workplace. 

collaboration skills

6. Leave Room for Error to Improve Collaboration Skills

 Sometimes, during collaboration, problems may occur, and employees might make mistakes. It's essential that you, as a leader, allow them to commit errors. It might be scary to give them the freedom to do so because it can be costly to the organization. However, remember that these can help your employees grow.

Don’t ignore their mistakes, but don’t be harsh when providing constructive criticism as well. Don’t be too hard and put so much pressure on them for not being perfect. Create a positive work environment where they can feel that they're not a big failure.

Focus on coming up with solutions, not on assigning blame to any member. Obstacles delay progress, but accepting mistakes as part of a collaborative process can improve performance and create a company culture where employees are encouraged to come up with creative solutions.

If a project is unsuccessful, a deadline is unmet, or a target is unattained, meet with your members, and try to understand what went wrong. Discuss how you can move forward and what can help your team achieve their goals.

An effective collaborator acknowledges that mistakes do happen from time to time. Encourage your employees to have a mindset that mistakes can help them improve their performance at work. These would help them feel comfortable to speak up and be honest, even if they make mistakes.

RELATED: 10 Skills For Peaceful Conflict Resolution In The Workplace

collaboration skills

7. Celebrate Wins

Along with room for errors, celebrations can help develop team collaboration skills, too.

Cultivate a culture of gratitude in the workplace. This can lead to increased self-esteem and a positive outlook for your employees. It can also have a significant impact on their well-being and how they interact with their colleagues.

Take time to provide positive feedback and boost your employees’ morale. Point out areas where your members are shining. Give credit where it's due. Express your appreciation and gratefulness to them.

Acknowledge positive results, and recognize achievements. Celebrate all milestones whether big or small. If possible, you can provide rewards or bonuses to your employees.

When you have some good news to share, make an announcement so others would feel that they're a part of a collaborative environment.

When a group gets the job done right for the first time, praise their teamwork skills and team effort. When an employee shows support to a colleague, appreciate him.

When an individual meets or exceeds their target, congratulate them. When a staff has been consistently good in their tasks, don’t take them for granted. You'll notice how productive and smooth collaboration happens when employees feel valued in their workplace.

More Ways to Build Workplace Collaboration Skills

These tips are just the beginning! You can also promote collaboration by:

Embracing Technology

In this modern era, technology has become a vital part of our lives—including workplaces. Various collaboration tools are available to support a remote team. Utilize digital whiteboards, chat functions, and video conferencing for an effective communication.

Allowing Flexibility

Flexible schedules can help your employees be productive without sacrificing their personal lives. Assigning tasks on flexible hours or allowing flexible leaves of absences would make it easier for your workers to manage their work-life balance.

Having Regular Check-Ins

Set regular meetings with your different departments so you can discuss any issues and updates in the workplace setting. If a staff has some problems with their task or even with their colleagues, provide them a safe space to talk about it. Have an eye out for conflicts, and address them immediately before they become worse.

Encouraging Socialization

Encouraging your staff to socialize outside of work can help them build relationships and trust. You don’t have to organize a huge event, but you can plan monthly or quarterly activities that involve collaboration such as team lunches or group projects. Encouraging conversations about non-work topics like sports and hobbies can also be beneficial for your employees.

Final Thoughts

Collaboration is essential for any workplace to become successful. It can help create a harmonious and productive atmosphere, as well as foster creative solutions.

It takes practice, patience, and commitment to build a strong sense of teamwork in the workplace. Fostering collaboration skills requires ongoing effort from both managers and employees alike. Remember that great things come when you work together towards a common goal!

Do you want to equip your organization with the right skills? Book a call today to explore how The Virtual Hub can support your teams! 

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