10 Proven Strategies to Improve Collaboration and Teamwork

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People often interchange the terms “collaboration” and “teamwork.” While they are similar, each of them holds a unique meaning.

Collaboration happens when people act in unison to finish a task. On the other hand, teamwork exists when a group combines their individual efforts to realize one goal.

Regardless of their differences, teamwork and collaboration are essential factors that make a company successful.

Group of people working out business plan in an office

What is the importance of collaboration and teamwork in the workplace?

Collaboration and teamwork are important to the workspace for many reasons.

First, collaboration and teamwork make work easier. When more people work on a single task, the burden gets lighter. As a result, both efficiency and productivity rates within the workplace will increase.

Second, workers become more accountable toward each other. Since everybody has different responsibilities, each person must check on each other to ensure everything is going well. 

Third, workers can become more competent in their roles. A report revealed that top-performing employees spend at least 45% of their time collaborating with others.

Besides those mentioned above, there are dozens more reasons every company should foster teamwork and collaboration among its members.

10 proven strategies to improve collaboration and teamwork

All companies universally need teamwork and collaboration in their workspaces, but each should develop unique strategies that best suit their respective situations. 

Listed below are tried and tested strategies you can try to improve your company’s workflow dynamic. Feel free to mix one with another to achieve optimum results.

1. Choose leaders who set good examples

Who is a good leader? That person should be one of many things. They should be strong-willed, decisive, ambitious, honest, and more.

Above all, good leaders stay with their subordinates and guide them to success and continuous development. In the workplace, a good leader puts the interests of others and the company before themselves.

In addition, good leaders are more than just figureheads. They are hard workers who solve problems by utilizing every person’s individual strengths and contributing some of their own as well.

If you find someone with great potential to become a good leader, assign them to higher positions. A 2020 study confirms that good leadership is crucial for collaborative initiatives in varied professions. 

Teamwork and collaboration can be effective when the people at the top are adept at managing people. Someone has to take charge to protect stability and continuity of work.

2. Communicate efficiently

No company can function without communication. Workers and executives must coordinate to plan events and achieve goals. But is any quality of communication enough?

No. Ideally, companies should aim for efficient communication

Efficient communication promotes the streamlining of lines so parties can send and receive the intended information. When the lines are chaotic, messages could get distorted. Chaos might ensue afterward.

Efficient communication does not necessarily mean more frequent communication. Moreover, communicating more does not always assure clear conveyance of information. Haphazard communication only wastes the company’s time, money, and resources. 

Companies should aim for a systematized format of communication. Teamwork and collaboration may only happen when members know what they are doing. They should also receive timely updates when they need to do something else at a specific time.

3. Establish clear goals, rules, and mechanisms

Company members should keep abreast of collaborative projects’ goals, rules, and limitations. Working together goes beyond sharing the same tasks and fulfilling similar roles. 

Collaboration goals refer to a company’s targets while working with an interprofessional or interdepartmental team. A clear definition of the said goals will help team members create plans to address the company’s specific needs.

Rules manage collaborative projects and team members. They regulate what could and could not be done within a specific scenario. Having rules will also make team members more careful not to overstep bounds while doing their parts of the job.

Collaborative mechanisms are project management tools that help simplify tasks shared by several team members. Companies in the production and construction industries often require more complex systems to address a more expansive demand and supply.

4. Know the responsibilities of every team member

Company collaborations also focus on how much members can depend on each other while they are not working together. It means that workers should be able to expect that their colleagues can fulfill their respective responsibilities separately. 

Leaders should first establish personal and team responsibilities. Once these responsibilities are defined, it will be easier to identify if everybody is doing their jobs.

Clearly defined responsibilities help individual workers improve team performance. Having specific goals in mind, workers know what to prioritize and complete within a particular time frame. 

Since everything is aligned, workers may not feel as overwhelmed and confused about their responsibilities. Instead, they could center their energy on their jobs and produce better results.

5. Set goals together as a team

Companies should prioritize effective project management to create a unified team. A crucial part of it is setting goals together with every team member.

Setting goals is part of the second phase of project management—the project planning phase. Aside from determining company milestones, this phase also assigns project owners and assesses the needs of all departments.

A company reflects a collective. When only executives determine company goals, there will be a misrepresentation of the company’s voice. If the true goal is collaboration, everybody must have a say.

Company members should already have a say as early as project planning. Workers may do so by being part of preparation committees and other pre-planning activities.

6. Stop micromanagement

Micromanagement happens when a leader or supervisor unnecessarily intervenes in a subordinate’s work. Micromanagers continuously say what others should do and have the tendency to give frequent criticism.

Micromanagement creates a negative impact on workers’ lives. According to a survey, 69% of micromanaged individuals think about transferring to another company, while 36% of them bit the bullet and changed jobs

When higher-ups continue to micromanage employees, damaging organizational dilemmas will arise.

Harms of micromanagement

The following are some of the most drastic consequences of micromanaging:

  • Increased anxiety and stress (for employees)
  • Reduction of workers’ performance and productivity rates
  • Deterioration of workers’ self-esteem
  • Stunted employee growth, especially regarding skills and achievements
  • Frequent absences
  • High turnover rates

Should micromanagement exist in a workplace, end it at its earliest stages.

7. Get everyone’s feedback

As workers provide input during organizational planning, they should do the same during the assessment stages. Company members should also participate when companies recap their activities and determine what plans were successful and unsuccessful.

It is one of the biggest ways for low-rank workers to provide feedback about company policies and projects. When their votes count, company decisions become more inclusive.

Collaborative feedback tears down hierarchies. Executives no longer dominate the company. As everyone stands on the same pedestal, there will be two-way conversations. 

Leaders should have high-level relationship management skills to engage in collaborative feedback effectively. In addition, they should not have biases in collecting responses from everyone.

8. Hire the right team members

The planning stage for teamwork and collaboration begins in the hiring process.

When you want to build a company with people that easily jive together, hire like-minded people. It does not mean you should hire people with the same beliefs and preferences, but recruit those with the same drive as you regarding organizational success.

Look at your goals. If your potential hires can commit to those, you will likely have an easier time working with them.

It is important to note that you should always expect disagreements. Collaborations are not one-sided affairs. There could be discourses on matters, but ultimately, team members will choose to resolve existing problems.

9. Improve everybody’s collaboration skills

Aside from trying to improve collaboration externally, leaders should not forget about workers’ individual ability to collaborate with others. An efficient way to do this is to train workers’ collaborative skills

Collaborative skills are a mixture of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. These qualities help individuals and groups resolve collaborative issues and clarify common goals.

Use collaboration tools

In the modern era, accessing tools that improve individual and group collaboration skills is easy. The possibilities seem endless. Here are some you should try:

You can even use some of these alongside other tools. Apply the tools that give you the most benefit.

10. Reward teamwork and collaboration

Besides performance rewards, teamwork and collaboration incentives are critical to companies. A Forbes article revealed that group rewards strengthen collaborative teamwork skills. Implementing appropriate programs can make a company’s collaborative flow smoother and more effective.

Productive rewards for teams

In addition to monetary rewards, other types of incentives can motivate team members to work harder together. Here are creative examples you may want to apply to your company:

  • Work-related tools
  • Team dinners
  • Team vacations
  • Team training
  • Salary raise (as a group)

No one strategy can satisfy the needs of all companies. Instead, pick parts of these tactics that work for your situation and make the most out of them.

Collaboration and teamwork skills set you apart from others

Learning how to improve teamwork and collaboration in the workplace can help you grow at a more progressive pace. Take note of the tips listed above and apply them in your day-to-day work.

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