Collaborative Work Management Guide

Tips for Successful Collaboration in the Workplace

Tips for Successful Collaboration in the Workplace

Fostering a workplace built on collaborative work skills is no easy task. While some employees may take to teamwork like ducks to water, others will sink under the shared responsibility. 

Working towards collective goals requires every link in the chain to be strong, which assumes a level of individual accountability and engagement. 

It isn’t only individual employees who need to contribute in small teams, though. When you look at examples of successful collaboration in the workplace, there’s usually a strong team leader involved. The team leader plays a significant role in pulling everyone in the same direction. Then there’s the cross-functional team, made up of team members from various departments.

Regardless of the type of team or your role in it, the key question you should be asking is: How do you create lasting connections between team members to encourage successful collaboration in the workplace?

The 3 C’s of collaboration

Before we dive into collaboration tips and tricks to create a culture of cooperation in the workplace, we’re going to highlight the key signs of a strong team. When you know what traits, values, and dynamics make for an effective team, building one becomes easier.

Every productive team is made up of the following three building blocks:

  •  Communication
  •  Clear roles
  •  Cohesion 

Without the three C’s of collaboration, any team is likely to falter at the first hurdle. Communication is the glue that holds the group together, clear roles establish who does what, and cohesion ensures the unit moves forward as one. 

Remove any of these three components, and you sever ties between team members, which ultimately inhibits productivity and synergistic working.

Inspiring effective collaboration

Now that you can detect the signs of a strong team, let's look at some tips for team collaboration you can use to affect change and inspire effective collaboration.

Outline expectations

If you’re looking to create a culture of collaboration, you and your fellow team members need to know what exactly that looks like. It’s one thing to use buzzwords and terms such as “synergistic workflows” and “dynamic teamwork,” but another altogether to create something concrete from the ground up.

Before embarking on the journey to successful collaboration, you need to define the following:

  • Goals: It’s essential to lay out the core goals and objectives from the outset to provide the team with a clear roadmap to success 
  • Vision: A shared vision may sound esoteric, but it can help keep everyone on the same page and engaged with their work
  • Responsibilities: Outline each member’s responsibilities, as well as those of the team, so everyone knows exactly what they need to do in each moment

You also need to be clear on the methods and means necessary to achieve your goals. To hit the three C’s of collaboration we detailed earlier, you’ll need to draw up a list of collaboration tools, as well as processes for getting things done. Without systems and tools teams can use, progress will be piecemeal and disjointed — the last thing you want in a collaborative workspace.

Lead from the top

Despite contrary belief, teamwork isn’t all about the team or its members. To create a strong collaborative work ethic, you need someone at the helm to organize the group and steer the ship, course-correcting when necessary.

The importance of a trustworthy leader in a team is hard to underestimate — it can make all the difference. In 2020, employees who responded to a survey conducted by Adpri stated that they would be 14 times more likely to feel engaged with a leader they trusted.

To reach shared goals and aspire to the vision set out from day one, a team needs guidance from above. Scattering a leader's responsibilities among members could lead to diluted focus and a lack of attention on individual roles within the team.

Use the right toolkit

A team is as effective as the tools it uses. Rely on outdated processes and tools, and you limit the ability of the team to collaborate successfully. This is especially true of cross-functional collaboration, as this requires integrating input from various employees across departments.

So what are the right tools for collaboration? Generally speaking, you can break down collaboration tools into the following categories:

Communication

Communication tools, such as Zoom or Slack, allow team members to stay in touch and discuss important project details along the way. These tools accelerate progress as they don’t disrupt workflows like emails or in-person meetings can.

Document sharing

Storing and sharing documents using cloud-based tools such as Google Docs or Dropbox can help facilitate collaboration. Simple file upload or drag-and-drop features allow team members to pass tasks onto each other with ease, which speeds progress down the project pipeline.

Project management

Project management tools allow you to visualize progress, create to-do lists, and streamline workflows. Wrike helps companies of every size accomplish shared goals. The software offers customizable dashboards you can tailor for each team, task and report sharing, and 360° visibility to promote cross-functional collaboration between departments.

Sign up today for a free two-week trial to see how Wrike can help you achieve successful collaboration.

Further reading
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What Are Team Collaboration Best Practices?

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What Are the Advantages of Online Collaboration?

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What Is Collaborative Brainstorming?

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What Is the Best Collaboration App for Teams?