Team collaboration is the foundation of an engaged workforce, as it brings individuals together to achieve shared goals. However, while nearly every organization and team recognizes the importance of team collaboration, teamwork, and productivity, we've all been in situations where establishing a collaborative mindset ultimately takes a back seat during the day-to-day.
It's 2020 now, so why is team collaboration still difficult sometimes?
Aside from the usual external issues teams face, there are many contributing factors which are often overlooked, such as complex interdependencies, misplaced information, and competing priorities and goals.
Effective team collaboration is the result of constant effort from every individual involved. It is, after all, a team effort. We've highlighted the key aspects teams should consider to collaborate better to take work to the next level. Take a look at our foolproof plan to master effective team collaboration successfully.
Create an all-inclusive environment
An inclusive workplace is a collaborative workplace.
The first step to creating a collaborative environment is to make sure all your team members are comfortable with each other. As their leader, it is important to foster a workplace that's positive, inviting, and safe for all your team members to motivate themselves and participate.
Goal setting has been linked with greater performance and higher team productivity. It's valuable to plan and communicate with your team as you work towards achieving the set goal. It is also important to emphasize both the individual's and the leader's goals, and what this collectively benefits.
While the general outlook on team meetings has not always been entirely positive with regards to time management and productivity, most of us would agree that occasional meetings are unavoidable. In any case, it's important to know what actually works is to strategize the meeting with clear objectives and actionable work items.
Cliq Tip #1:
Make your meetings actionable. Take notes right in Cliq during your meeting and turn messages into quick actionable work items.
Give clarity and transparency
One of the core problems that creates chaos is zero clarity within a team. As leaders, it is your responsibility to communicate and ensure your team has clarity on:
- The mission or goal that you're working towards.
- The vision a.k.a the bigger picture for the future.
- The strategy on how to achieve the mission and the vision.
Communicating these three things transparently and with clarity will ensure only one thing: Trust. Transparency and trust go hand in hand and your team is more likely to put their trust when they're kept in loop and are aware of the bigger picture and the part they play.
Cliq Tip #2:
Create a team-wide announcement-only channel called #decisions and use it to broadcast the team's goals, vision, and strategies. Pin all important messages to the top of the conversation, so no one misses it!
Define clear roles
Determine who is responsible for what. It is essential that every team member knows exactly what they're expected to do. When clear roles and responsibilities have been established, it will be a lot easier for everyone to collaborate and work together.
Drive the We factor
Make sure to let your team know that you're all in this together and you've got their backs! When you show everyone is equally responsible and everyone's input matters, this will encourage your team members to take ownership and work towards their tasks proactively.
Establish team workflows
Teamwork is so much easier when a workflow is established. Workflows can be anything from automating a simple, repetitive task to orchestrating an entire business process. No matter the scale, a good workflow can keep everyone on the same page and save a great deal of time!
Take automating task updates: would it not be easier if all the notifications are streamlined and channeled into your #project-updates channel? Instead of spending time and energy on navigating between different apps for tracking minor updates, you can automate your notifications with a chat bot.
Cliq Tip #3:
Create a simple chat bot to keep an eye out for all project-related updates, keep relevant stakeholders informed, and send alerts directly to your team collaboration tool.
Associate tasks to a purpose
Giving a clear meaning to every task drives engagement and productivity multi-fold. It always helps when you lay out the benefits that will come out of a certain task you're about to take on. Out of 474 executives surveyed, 89% said a strong sense of collective purpose drives employee satisfaction.
Simple questions like, "Who will benefit from what we're doing?" and, "How will this task relate to the bigger goal our team is working on?" will keep your team motivated and help them champion every task they begin.
Make employees feel empowered by encouraging them to share their ideas and opinions. The magic mantra for building a power unit that collaborates effectively is to make sure everyone's voice is heard. Besides that, brainstorming not only pools together ideas, but also helps break the ice and get everyone comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Brainstorming can be used to help a team buy into and implement a plan of action.
Embrace different working styles
Would you rather be a part of a homogeneous team that's in sync all the time or be a part of a vibrant team with diverse perspectives and working styles? Here's the thing: when you're a part of a team where everyone's style of working and thinking is shockingly similar, there are chances you may overlook important aspects of the project that you're working on. It always helps to have a variety of people with varying perspectives. While teamwork and team collaboration might be a bit more of a challenge when you have a team with different working styles, but then what's work without a challenge, right?
Identify their working styles and the way each team member communicates. Take the time to engage and communicate team goals clearly, early on. And most importantly, don't try to fight or change someone's working style just because they're different—embrace different styles to strengthen your team!
Effective team collaboration need not always be synchronous. The Harvard Business Review's article, "Collaborative Overload" shows that employees spend more than 50% of their work-time collaborating. So, just because your team is one Cliq away, doesn't mean that you can expect them to stay always on.
Asynchronous communication gives everyone breaks of much-needed work-time with zero interruptions.
Cliq Tip #4:
How to go async in Cliq?
Turn off your push notifications and change your status to busy/not available/DND for a set block of time. This way you're giving people a heads up about your DND zone and they will not demand a reply immediately, unless it's absolutely necessary!
Give and accept constructive feedback
Creating a culture that accepts constructive feedback gives your team members clarity and time to reflect on the direction they're headed in currently and how they should be proceeding further. Laying this as the foundation of the team's culture early on, helps immensely as the team and workplace scales.
Cliq Tip #5:
Create a team-wide channel #suggestions, where all team members can post their suggestions on the ongoing updates in the project.
Infuse humor in team spirit
Building a team spirit is important for effective team collaboration. Establishing a positive atmosphere early on is as important as creating an open feedback mindset, and this is also a way to make sure every individual feels they're a part of the team, that they belong, which encourages them to open up! And of course, humor lightens the atmosphere and opens up channels of communication.
A team that laughs together collaborates better together.
Moreover, humor is a natural stimulus for creativity! So, put two and two together—give your team the right to exercise their humor and they'll more readily bring innovative ideas to the table and solve pretty difficult problems effectively.
Cliq Tip #6:
Something as simple as sharing GIFs, reacting to a message with zomojis or getting together on a group video call to just have a virtual team retreat is a great idea!
The Collaboration Ethos
As author and leadership expert Carole Gaskell says,
Collaboration is about working together to achieve a shared success.
While we all know sounds simpler than it is in practice, the results effective collaboration brings to your team makes it a goal worth investing in.
Most successful business teams that collaborate effectively have taken into consideration the existing communication culture, streamlined their own workflows, and digitized their processes with modern collaboration tools to take it to the next level.
Zoho Cliq is one such team collaboration software bringing all your people, the tools your teams use, and the data you work with into one single place. With channels to power group collaboration, bots and tools to connect you to all the tools you love, and reminders to manage your to-do lists, Cliq is simply a one stop solution for your team's collaboration.