Running a successful business is tough. It requires persuading multiple people to come together and function as one team, focusing on a common goal. The problem is that the reality of making that happen is a lot more difficult than just snapping your fingers or saying the magic words “work as a team.” For one, there are several roadblocks that are working against your collaboration efforts.
Common barriers to successful team collaboration
While not all teams are the same, they do face several common barriers to collaboration. For example, one challenge of any business is bringing people from different backgrounds to work together as a team. Some employees are natural team players, while others work better on their own. Working styles and personalities are all factors that can make team collaboration challenging. If you’re leading the team, it’s your job to break through those barriers and find ways to foster an environment of collaboration. To break those barriers, we offer a few tips we’d like to share.
5 tips for successful team collaboration
1. Promote open communication
This is another “easier said than done” item. The best way to promote open conversation within your team is to demonstrate a psychologically safe, judgment-free atmosphere.
2. Consider different personalities
Make sure you get well acquainted with your team members’ personalities so you can adjust to make sure every voice is heard. One common strategy is to start with the quietest person’s opinion — because he or she is less likely to share it — and then work your way up. The loudest, most extroverted person in the room should be the last one to speak.
3. Define the team’s goals
Remind your team frequently of the overall goal and then also break down any collective or individual goals. Knowing what’s expected will help your team stay on track and eliminate any doubt of what will be defined as success.
4. Share resources
Knowledge is power. Keeping your team up-to-date on any project developments will help them stay on track and can help eliminate frustrations.
5. Lead by example
The very best way to promote an attitude of team collaboration is to demonstrate one firsthand. The way you interact with team members, the way you make promises and the way you handle requests will all show your team members the way that you want to work. Your attempts to work as a team will be futile if you don’t practice what you preach.
Tools for team collaboration
We’re far past the days where everyone is crowded around a drafting table working on one paper document together. The best way you can set your team up to collaborate well together is by creating a digital workspace. Your team will function better and more efficiently if they can communicate clearly and in real time. Here are some tools you absolutely need to help build your digital workspace.
- Communication tool (like Slack or G-chat)
- Calendar sharing tool (like Google Calendar or Outlook)
- Document collaboration tool (like Google Drive)
- File-sharing tool (like Dropbox or WeTransfer)
In addition to digital tools, invest in team-building exercises to get to know the best ways to communicate and work together. For example, you could complete assessments like StrengthsFinder and share the results so that everyone can work together in better ways.
Collaborating with clients
Our last piece of advice regarding team collaboration is to look outside. Internal employee teams aren’t the only ones that need to collaborate. Often, collaboration involves clients, customers or vendors as well. Most of these tips and tools can be applied to working with others in order to foster successful relationships and accomplish great work together.