Whether you are working with just one department or across several groups, team collaboration is a necessity in the workplace. When team members know each other better, they are able to communicate and work together. These collaboration strategies can range from using online tools to playing traditional, in-person games.
When people feel free to communicate and express their ideas, they are more productive. Companies need to help team members feel like they are part of something larger than just themselves. By using the right strategies, you can improve your group dynamic and help everyone actively participate to create a more productive team atmosphere.
Let’s take a look at ten team collaboration strategies your group can start using today.
1. Communicate What You Want
For your team to succeed, they have to understand your expectations. Otherwise, they may unknowingly fail to fulfill their responsibilities. Start by making sure each team member understands their job within the team and has a role that fits their skills.
When you communicate individual roles, you boost team collaboration and improve overall efficiency. Each team member is able to do their task without accidentally overlapping their role with another team member’s responsibilities. As a result, your group is able to effectively collaborate and finish projects.
2. Organize Individual Tasks
While it’s best to complete each project as a team, this may not be the most effective way to do every task. In some cases, group brainstorming is a waste of time. Instead, try assigning individuals to create ideas on their own and then have everyone present their suggestions after the separate brainstorming time.
This technique often works well when each individual has unique strengths. By assigning individual brainstorming tasks, you ensure each team member gets the task best suited for their skills. But you can also avoid wasting time by assigning the same brainstorming mission to every team member, allowing a range of unique ideas to be brought to the table.
3. Create Transparent Roles
No one wants to feel like they are doing more work than other team members. Some online tools like Toggl Plan help boost transparency by dividing up the work roles and responsibilities. Options like team timelines, capacity planning, and visual project roadmaps ensure each person does a fair amount of the work and stays on task.
As a great planning tool and task manager, Toggl Plan allows users to focus their efforts while still being aware of what other team members are working on.
4. Try Team Games
If you want to boost team collaboration among your group, start by playing some games or team-building activities. These games can be anything from typical sports like disc golf and volleyball to problem-solving projects. Games help to break the ice, build new relationships, and develop strong bonds among team members. Here are a few more ideas of fun activities to improve your team’s rapport:
- Go-kart racing
- Nerf battle
- Murder mystery
- “Family” Feud or other game show type competitions
5. Hold Team Huddles
For your team to be effective, you need to avoid duplicating roles. A daily huddle among team members helps everyone discuss their goals and get caught up on one another’s progress. It also prevents team members from performing the same tasks on a day-to-day basis.
You can do these team huddles as a group at the office or through an online collaboration tool. The main goal is to prevent individual tasks from overlapping. A daily huddle will also help everyone to stay on the same page.
6. Reward Good Behavior
Rewards are a powerful way to show recognition for the type of behavior you expect. If you reward team members for speed, they will strive to finish projects faster. When you reward your team for collaborating with each other, you encourage them to work together.
Your reward can be a traditional bonus, but it could also be something as simple as including your team’s story in the company newsletter. Whether you use a tangible or intangible reward, you send a powerful message about the attitudes and actions you want from your employees.
7. Pick the Right Leaders
As a team manager, you’ve been chosen to lead and manage your team. But there will come times that you’ll need to choose leaders for side projects and tasks. While there is some debate among academics, Harvard Business Review recently studied the best types of team leaders. It turns out that top team leaders tend to be relationship and task oriented.
This essentially means that the leader is good at focusing on the objective, but they are also able to support relationships within the team. Normally, the leader starts out with a task-oriented mindset. As the project progresses, they naturally switch into a relationship-oriented, supportive approach. Be sure to keep these things in mind when choosing a leader for a key task that needs a separate supervisor from yourself.
8. Develop a Compelling, Shared Cause
This may not be possible for every project, but developing a shared cause can help inspire your team members. People want to feel like their work has value and makes a difference. If you can give your team members a compelling reason to reach a certain goal, they will become more passionate about their work and put forth more effort.
When team members lack focus or a shared goal, they often lose their motivation. It becomes more difficult to collaborate because they don’t understand why they are even working on the project. Instead of allowing the team to drift apart, inspire them by defining a clear purpose.
9. Start Socializing
When people care about their jobs, they work extra hours and stay late at the office. Unfortunately, this can end up hurting their productivity during the day. Socializing and free time help workers to de-stress and become more creative.
In addition to boosting creativity, socializing can also boost the team dynamic. When team members spend time socializing together, they develop more trust and understanding. This naturally makes it easier for them to collaborate within the workplace. Ensure your team is given sufficient breaks to pull away from their work and enjoy their time with co-workers.
10. Encourage Compromise
For a team to be effective, everyone must be willing to compromise. In a group of people with varying egos, strengths, and abilities, everyone needs to know how to manage conflicts if they want to accomplish team goals. You can start by modeling conflict management behaviors, but it is also important to train team members to have these skills as well.
As conflicts arise, look for teaching moments in both one-on-one and group settings. This often depends on the issues and their root cause. As you encourage compromise, your team collaboration will continually rise and won’t be hindered by menial conflicts that come up from time to time.
Look for More Ways to Improve Your Team Collaboration
Discovering the right team collaboration strategies are important for your project’s success. If everyone only works toward their individual goals, they can end up doing overlapping tasks and competing with each other. Your goal is to turn this bunch of individuals into a team-spirited group.
From doing team games to using online collaboration tools like Toggl Plan, there are many ways to encourage team-oriented behaviors. Start by modeling the behaviors you want and reward team members who collaborate effectively. Through collaboration, your team will be able to accomplish far more together than they are capable of individually.
Logan Derrick is a full-time business writer and content marketing strategist. For years, he has worked closely with several project management professionals, learning from them and increasing his own knowledge of the industry. Having held multiple management positions in fields ranging from customer service to marketing, Logan has found a passion for helping others learn about project management, marketing, and the powerful tools available to professionals today.