Teamwork 101: 5 ways to collaborate successfully

To help optimise collaboration amongst your colleagues, consider these tips next time you face a challenge that needs some serious team spirit.

“There’s no I in team”, “camel by committee”, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. You’ve heard all the phrases that echo the ups and downs of working in a team, but more than ever, collaboration is a significant element of any working day. And with remote work becoming increasingly popular, teamwork loses that all-important face-to-face contact.

To help optimise collaboration amongst your colleagues, consider these tips next time you face a challenge that needs some serious team spirit.


1. Make your objectives clear


First things first, make sure everyone’s on the same page, whatever you’re working towards. Without that group understanding from the start, it’ll make smooth sailing during your project a little choppier. It’s a good idea to discuss the goals you’ll set and accomplish with the rest of your team, detailing how you’ll achieve these – and with whose expertise?


2. Define the team’s roles


Whether you’ve experienced it in work, or watched any business-focused reality TV show, you’ll know a team with no set roles can falter. Assigning clear, well-defined duties to your team and populating it with people with varied skill sets who can complement each other is hugely important.

A successful team should know everyone’s responsibilities from the start. It’s integral for stable relationships and communication and keeps the structure of the team neatly organised and marked out. A team without clearly signalled positions will struggle to make progress.


3. Trust and be transparent


Assembling a team means all parties must trust one another, but maintaining that trust is important. An environment that’s open and inclusive, one that encourages the recognition of everyone’s abilities and talent is hugely valuable. Participation, suggestions and ideas flow more freely, allowing for a smoother, more collaborative process.

We’re not saying you need to become everyone’s best friend, but a team that shares information, and is honest and constructive during their time together is on the path to success.


4. Be flexible when you need to be


Forward planning and well-defined roles are important. But along the way, there’s bound to be some bumps. The moments you can’t plan for are the ones that show the true mettle of your team. Sometimes the rules need to be bent slightly.

Things will change over the course of the project, and embracing that change should be a necessary skill all teams have at their disposal. Restricting yourself is not conducive to progress, so be ready to adapt in the event of any blips.


5. Inspire and energise


The work a team faces will be challenging, but it’s important to not feel snowed under or burnt out by what you’re working through. Staying inspired and energised throughout is integral. Team members who are valued, and appreciate the work everyone else contributes will be key to its success.

Keep track of achievements you’ve made along the way and celebrate them with small rewards. Treat yourself and the team to a night out, or do something fun during downtime to break up the day.

Be approachable in your manner. Whether you’re leading the team or not, interpersonal relations and body language reflect on everyone else, for better or worse. Your manner should be one of calm and collectedness, even in times of stress. That poise you show on a day-to-day basis can be infectious, so keep that in mind.

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