“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” These wise words of Aristotle particularly ring true when it comes to teamwork. You’ve probably also heard the phrase, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” That’s because teamwork requires everyone to rely on each other to bring their own unique talents and ideas to the table. True team collaboration at its finest makes for an unstoppable force!
Team collaboration is "a communication and project management approach that emphasizes teamwork, innovative thinking, and equal participation to achieve objectives." Simply put, it’s a group of individuals working together to achieve greater success than one person could obtain on his or her own.
Reasons to collaborate
Collaboration in the workplace is a sign of efficiency because it harnesses the best out of two or more individuals. When teams work well together, they achieve positive results. There are a multitude of reasons why collaboration equals a winning formula.
- You have the opportunity to learn from others. When teams work together, they learn from each other’s successes and failures. The approach to learning is organizational and tasks are assigned to those who are able to reach the desired goals.
- You are able to better solve problems. When you bring a variety of talents together in the workplace, you get a different set of skills and knowledge. Strong competent teams work together to create a better problem-solving approach.
- You will understand the bigger picture. When people from different backgrounds work together, they are able to complement one another in a variety of ways. Working as a partnership can help you achieve a great deal.
- You will break down barriers. When everyone works together to achieve a common goal, it extends across all departments in an organization. Team members may be more likely to express their opinion, providing great feedback to the company.
- You will see increased participation. An effective team will equally participate by providing input and finding solutions. This can help solve for any obstacles along the way.
- You will produce faster. When a collaborative group of individuals works together, the process speeds up, and the final outcome is typically better.
How to build team collaboration
Good collaboration is the result of the entire team. The following tips will help you to create a strong, like-minded team that will drive successful results:
- Establish common objectives: Give your team a reason to show up for work every day. Identify a long-term objective to work for/look forward to. It’s essential that everyone on the team is on the same page and understands the goals. The key is to communicate effectively among the team and often.
- Set expectations: Defining a clear mission for the team is very important. Team members need to understand what the expectations are to ensure the completion of tasks. If you remind your team about the “shared” goal, they will stay passionate about their work and work together to achieve that goal.
- Set standards: This can include deciding what collaboration tool(s) you’re going to use and how to delegate tasks. Standards might also include trust and timely communication/delivery of work.
- Focus on individual strengths: It’s important to understand what each team member’s “sweet spot” is. For example, you may have one person on the team who is more creative and another who is more analytical. When you capitalize on individual strengths, you will more easily reach your goals.
- Create a trusting environment: Individual team members need to be reliable, and also able to trust that others are pulling their weight. Learn 12 tips to build and improve team time management.
How to improve team collaboration
Once you’ve built your team, there will always be room for growth and improvement. The following are some impactful ways to improve upon your team collaboration:
- Try the hot-desking method: If working in an office environment, this concept can work well because it allows for a flexible seating system. In this instance, employees are not assigned permanent desks, and they can change seats and sit at different places with different teammates each day. This system fosters an environment of autonomy and flexibility in the workplace.
- Eliminate micromanagement: Do not breathe down your employees’ necks all day long! Make your team feel responsible and let them know that they are capable of achieving their goals on their own. Micromanagement can make employees lose their passion and fervor. Pro Tip: Encourage collaboration with open discussions and two-way feedback.
- Use collaboration tools: There are a number of tools/software on the market that are specifically designed to increase productivity through team collaboration. Zoom is a great example of a tool that has become indispensable during the pandemic. If you have a remote team, scheduling video meetings is a perfect way to communicate face to face. UNUM’s Team Dashboard is another great way to connect your entire team through a single creator dashboard. Users can create a collaborative space with their iOS mobile device or through the UNUM Web App.
Collaboration trends in 2021
2020 was a year of overcoming many challenges due to COVID-19. As a result, organizations have had to adapt and change the way in which they operate. One common theme for many companies was the introduction and institution of remote work.
According to Gartner, 82% of companies are planning to allow for at least some remote work going forward. Many organizations are preparing for a hybrid workforce in which employees are given the option of on-premise or remote work.
As more and more employees are working remotely, the need for team collaboration is increasing. Organizations need a platform to stay connected so that teams can collaborate and communicate effectively while working off-site. This is why strong collaboration is crucial for organizations to succeed in this new era of virtual work.
Team collaboration has always played an essential role in ensuring business growth. Post-pandemic, it has become an even greater necessity for organizations to unite employees and set up effective team collaboration.
In our next blog installment, we’ll cover some of the best teal collaboration tools. Stay tuned.
“Team spirit is knowing and living the belief that what a group of people can accomplish together is much larger, far greater, and will exceed that which an individual can accomplish alone.” – Diane Arias