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6 COLLABORATION TRENDS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF WORK

Infographic on collaboration

6 COLLABORATION TRENDS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF WORK

 

Collaboration in the workplace is the biggest indicator of an effective team in motion. Being effective and efficient is an essential part of a productive team and an important contributor to a positive workplace.

 

Collaborative teams are motivated, agile and innovative problem solvers. Other collaboration plusses include more engaged and committed employees, better performance, and improved financial outcomes. These are good reasons to have a sound collaboration strategy for an organization, however while organisations talk about the importance of teamwork and collaboration skills, it’s not always easy to achieve. It can happen effectively when people with complementary skills work together on projects in a way that is truly connected. It’s the shared responsibility and combined effort that differentiates collaboration and teamwork.

 

In either case, a group of people work towards a shared goal. When they collaborate, people explore together and come about a solution as a combined effort together, whereas in teamwork people make their contributions as individuals towards a common goal.

 

Collaboration involves setting goals, allocating responsibilities, communicating respectfully and forging relationships.

 

Why Should Teams Collaborate?

Collaboration ensures people take their responsibilities and understand what others do too. And the reasons to use this as a process are many. Some are as follows:

🎇Learning & Growth

Working collaboratively gives the team an opportunity to learn from each other’s wins and losses, and sets the tone for giving an organizational approach towards learning things. It provides equal opportunities for everyone to contribute.

🎇Hone Problem Solving

Since collaboration involves bringing varied talents together and dipping into a pool of different skills and knowledge, it helps give exposure to different perspectives, brainstorming and thereby better problem solving skills.

🎇Better Team Work

Collaboration when it extends across all departments in an organization, enables a common purpose towards the Company’s objectives.

🎇Efficiency

Collaboration ensures that people come together to work on a common goal, which in turn speeds up the whole process and the final outcome is a much better and a productive team.

 

How to ensure Collaboration?

You first need to figure out why it isn’t working: Whether it is trust, chemistry, competitiveness etc. – the root cause is what you need to find. You need to evaluate the current situation and build a strategy for the future accordingly. If you don’t have a clue about where to start, here’s what you can do: survey team members and ask them for their opinions and perceptions. After that, step back and observe the team in action as their leader, come to your own conclusion, and craft your strategy.

The top 6 ways to build collaboration are:

🧿 Flexibility: Once you bring ideas to the table by collecting suggestions, you also help project managers to aggregate skill sets of the whole team. A collaboration will bring successful results by remaining adaptive and flexible.

🧿 Listen In: When working in a team, different ideas need to collaborate into workable solutions and that depends on effective collaboration. Finding the root of any new suggestion will require attentive listening to everyone before coming to an outcome. The active collaboration includes providing feedback to have a discussion in real time. It also involves quick responce to team members who want to be heard and valued.

🧿 Transparency: By sharing information correctly to instil a sense of workplace community and remaining focussed on finding a solution.

🧿 Motivated Workforce: An energized, motivated team is the strongest asset of a project. An effective collaborator teams will make sure that everyone works smart and hard.

🧿 Team Building: Team building activities will bring positive impact on office culture as it will improve communication, motivate employees, increase productivity, and help employees to get to know each other better.

🧿 Recognition: Recognition and appreciation, when made an integral part of the team’s everyday interaction will help foster the spirit of collaboration.

 

The mistake that most managers do is to believe that their staff is working optimally, however what would better back that belief is to ensure to infuse inspiration and vigor into the workspace and into the team from time to time. When it comes to offering criticism, the best way to do it is in a manner that critiques the mistake squarely rather than the employee. Resolving issues in a way that encourages and motivates the team is a huge component of collaborative behavior.

 

How can teams collaborate virtually?

Most of the thoughts and ideas on collaboration centre around people being in physical proximity to each other, such as creating office layouts that strike the right balance between providing spaces for working collaboratively and privately. Managers are still grappling with how to foster a collaborative spirit and environment in the new world of work where employyes work remotely or in a hybrid structure.

 

People who have managed global teams may have encountered many of these issues before and discovered ways to overcome the challenges. Establishing common ground in global virtual teams has long been the starting point to avoid communication breakdowns caused by wrong assumptions and misunderstandings about ways of working.

 

Shared meaning is part of a collaborative culture, and it builds gradually when people are interacting face to face. But in virtual teams, it needs to be helped along, so people have a mutual understanding about ways of working, and the collaboration can continue. Communication tools that allow team members to see what others are doing and enable the team to interact together are among the cornerstones of getting people on the same page, whenever they are.

 

Let’s see a few tips for making virtual collaboration work:

🎇 Don’t rely on email: Use tools that are built for group communication rather than emailing individuals. It’s also a way of keeping communication about specific collaborative projects separate so they don’t get lost in a crowded inbox.

 

🌼 Provide shared workspaces: An online space where teams can collaborate on and share documents is essential. Ensure your filing system and digital workspace tools integrate with your other communication tools so people aren’t wasting time and becoming frustrated with multiple sign-ins.

 

🌞 Video regularly: Videoconferencing gives teams access to the non-verbal cues they need to derive more meaning and is ideal for brainstorming sessions. It’ll make people feel more connected too.

 

Converse: In a physical office the water-cooler conversation is where chit-chats happen and sometimes great ideas pop up, and in the online world there needs to be a virtual space for it too.  born, so your tools need to give teams virtual space for it. Explore setting up a dedicated chat channel, or just making small talk before the meeting kicks off.

 

🔱 No presumptions: Misunderstandings tend to happen more easily when people are working virtually. Check back to ensure that people understand goals and roles. Make sure you know who’s going to do what after every meeting. And keep communication channels open so people know they can ask questions whenever they need to.

 

The question now is what are the barriers that inhibit effective collaboration? Let’s see some of these:

➡Lack of buy-in

➡Poor communication

➡Improper work environment

➡Lack of support at the workplace

➡No culture of collaboration

 

Is collaboration a skill (and can you learn it)?

Collaboration is not a process. It’s a way of being and doing – a way of life in the workplace. Collaboration skills include communicating, listening, negotiating and building personal relationships. Using these skills will help teams reach consensus, acknowledge each other’s contributions and keep collaboration flowing.

 

There are links between emotional intelligence and effective collaboration. It’s shown to help with everything from managing conflict to building trust and keeping people enthusiastic.

 

Here are a few ways to improve your collaboration skills:

✨Practice collaborating on a task. A great example is to allocate pair writing –  a great way to get people collaborating within teams. A subject matter expert and a writer ideally connect/ sit down together to write a piece of content in real-time. It’s a good lesson on how to exchange ideas, clarify meaning and build trust.

 

✨Hone listening skills. Listening is a crucial collaborative skill. To practice good listening, try this exercise in pairs – Have one person talk while the other listens without interrupting. The listener should ask questions, ask the speaker to clarify points, then, at the end of the conversation, summarise what their partner said.

 

✨Learn the art of negotiation. There’s a lot of give and take in collaborative teams, so knowing how to negotiate is crucial. You can practice this with an exercise – start by dividing your team into groups and giving each the job of crafting something. The catch is that no team will have all the equipment they need to complete their task – they’ll have to negotiate with other teams to get it.

 

✨Align on a strategy of collaboration. This highlights to employees and stakeholders that your company understands the value of effective collaboration skills as well as the fact that you have committed to investing in the necessary training and tools. Your strategy should incorporate the current hybrid ways of working, and it should be reviewed every 6-12 months.

 

✨ Goal Setting. Without a sense of purpose and clear goals, teams won’t have focus. And people can collaborate effectively once they have a clear idea of what managers expect them to achieve. As with any type of teamwork, goals and deliverables need to be made explicit at the outset of any collaborative project.

 

✨Recognise and reward. Collaboration as a skill needs to be rewarded by organisations –  team effort as well as individual performance. Make sure there’s room for recognising team collaboration so you can show how much you value it.

 

✨Focus on knowledge sharing. Over 80% of business leaders say capturing and sharing their people’s insights is one of the most critical factors in business success – knowledge sharing and collaboration feed into each other. Being able to get their hands on the right information when they need it will make people feel personally empowered.

 

Looking to improve your collaboration strategy?

Hi ! I’m Sonnia & I have helped organizations and individuals achieve their business goals by developing effective collaboration skills, and can help build yours.

 

Get in touch with us today at :

sonnia@sonniasingh.com

 

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