Working within a team is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in your professional life. Producing work alongside your friends and colleagues, with each person using their abilities and talents to reach an end goal.
Every member contributes something different to the team which can aid in solving complex issues, and bring new ideas to the fore.
It’s not easy obtaining the winning dynamic but having the right elements for successful team collaboration can get you there.
16 Must-haves for Successful Team Collaboration
1. Defined Team Roles
Meredith Belbin at Henley Management College has nine team roles which are essential for team collaboration and teamwork. He outlined that these roles are integral for a team to cooperate successfully.
In a successful team, you need people who can have great ideas, someone to clarify the vision of what the team is working towards, someone with good judgement and someone with technical know-how.
All of these roles and others are vital to having a flexible, hardworking team.
Team collaboration will succeed if you have the correct mix of passion, talent and most importantly: Ability. If your members can’t work in a team then it might prove difficult to manage your project effectively.
2. A Clear Goal
For the success of any project through team collaboration, there must be a clearly defined objective that everyone is on board with.
Every member should understand how they are vital in getting the job done.
If there is no clear goal it can be easy to get sidetracked or lose interest early on. Make sure each task can draw a link to the overall success of the project.
3. A Plan
You can’t reach your goal if you don’t have a plan to get you there!
A clear and concise plan, factoring in each step required to complete your goal, and a plan which everyone in your team has had input on sets out a clear roadmap to your success.
4. Great Communication and Dialogue
Communication is the key to working with others. In fact, one-third of all projects fail due to poor communication. The success of a team comes down to people’s communication skills with each other as well as communicating their goals to others outside of the team.
A team where opinions are valued and listened to can only contribute to a better working outcome in the long run.
An environment where ideas are adopted and actioned means that each team member will have a direct attachment to the team and, by extension, the project that the team is working on.
Communication is also about listening. That means listening to your colleagues’ ideas and concerns as well as listening to feedback and taking it on board.
A clear channel for dialogue between team members and management is imperative so that requests from team leaders can be easily understood and positive reinforcement and feedback are delivered. Clear communication leaves no room for misinterpretation.
5. Engaged Employees
Making sure everyone knows that each member is vital to the overall success of the project and the team. Teamwork is easier when everyone is passionate about the task at hand and on the same page.
Showing the team that what they are working on is valued and important and that they have a purpose. Frequent feedback and smaller tasks can help keep your team engaged.
6. Good Leaders
Being the leader takes a lot of responsibility. It’s about guiding your team towards its goal, making decisions and making sure that the project is completed to the best of everybody’s abilities.
When managing a team you’re not just a leader, you’re a task manager, deciding what needs to be done and when. Leaders need to make the call on what needs to be finished by tomorrow and what can be pushed back until a few weeks time.
Good leaders can keep everyone in sync, even if they’re in the office or working remotely.
The strengths a leader needs should include interpersonal and organisational skills, along with a thorough knowledge of the task at hand. Good leaders should be able to positively motivate others to do their best work.
A leader needs to be forthcoming with praise but not be afraid to reprimand a team member if necessary. They should be able to accommodate different opinions and capable of finding solutions to make sure that the goal is reached to a certain level of excellence– and on time.
7. Ability to Compromise and Manage Conflict
Within any group of people, there is bound to be disagreement and the working environment is no different. Compromise is not just a useful life skill but essential in team collaboration.
Enabling colleagues to give their best and not feel like they’re having their good ideas shelved in favour of another idea. Putting your differences aside for the benefit of effective teamwork and delivering real results.
Compromise isn’t easy and sometimes, despite your best efforts conflict will arise.
As a project manager, it falls to you to resolve any issues that arise and get your team members back on track and remind them of the goal at hand. After all, you’re on the same team!
Trust is a cornerstone principle in any team project. You have people that are depending on you to deliver for the betterment of the project or task.
Working in a team means that the success of the project is relying on you to get your part done to a high standard. Likewise, you are relying on others for to give it their all.
To maintain reliability try not to take on too much as this could result in letting someone down. Being able to manage your time and getting your work completed when it’s needed is a big positive when working as part of a team.
Not being reliable and finishing work to a subpar standard can have an adverse effect on the overall completion of your team’s project and can hamper the hard work of others.
9. Team Players
With team collaboration, it’s all about having the right positive, team player attitude.
Encouraging your colleagues, helping them when they’re stuck on something, listening to everyone’s ideas and opinions, and being as flexible as you can to assist team cohesion.
Show the rest of the team how committed you are to the overall goal. It’ll be an encouragement to others!
10. A Mix of Skills and Expertise
A mix of different people can bring a wide range of unique skills and opinions for effective teamwork.
Different expertise is beneficial when working on a project and can also help drive more innovation when deciding what step the project should take next.
A mix of talent, competence, savvy and experience can assist in uniting the team and driving them to create their best work in the project.
11. A Team-Collaboration Tool
While working in a team, keeping your team’s work in the one place is a huge plus– especially if they’re not all in the one office!
When used correctly a team collaboration tool is a central space for your team’s ideas and discussions as well as an accessible home for their to-dos, files, notes and any events that may be coming up for the project.
We use Tameday to keep everyone accountable, informed and organised as well as reducing the number of emails you have to send around just to keep everyone in the loop!
12. Space for Other Ideas
Not every idea is a good idea, but allowing space for out of the box ideas can only benefit your team and allow others to explain concepts that they might be reluctant to share otherwise.
Embrace all ideas as valid and decide together which ideas would be an asset to the project.
13. A Listening Environment
The first rule of listening is showing that you actually care about what your team member is saying.
The second is to react to what they’ve just said without judgement but with empathy.
And thirdly, NEVER interrupt them. If you stifle someone while they’re explaining something important, they might think twice when attempting to chip in next time.
14. Focused Energy
Sometimes when morale within a team is low, it needs a bit of energy and fresh thinking to reinvigorate it! Reiterate the reason why the team is working and what they’re working towards.
Review the work completed so far and outline what still needs to be done. Reminding the team of what they’ve accomplished is a great compass to show them where they need to get to.
Treat any setback as a learning experience on how to deal with a problem. If it happens again your team will be more than capable of dealing with it.
Why not take a break and do something you all enjoy? Team orientated activity can encourage a new team dynamic.
Transparency can only be constructive for effective teamwork. Being open and honest with your team, with not only your ideas but with your work, builds a level of reciprocal trust.
Showing others how you’re coping with your work and not being afraid to ask for help will hearten others to share their experience with the task so far.
Likewise, showing your teammates what you’ve accomplished can spur them on to finish the task to the best of their potential.
Having fun when working with your team makes all your hard work worthwhile. The level of happiness within your working team can affect their productivity, commitment and even creativity. When the project is finished, remember to go out and celebrate with your team. You’ve earned it.