How to Collaborate Well
Today, I’m excited to share five tips for successful collaboration with insight from my fellow team lead at Braathe Enterprises, Nora Anzer. Anzer is also a Club Chapter President for SportsHi, an organization that helps student-athletes find scholarship and career opportunities, and a Lead Event Coordinator Intern for Cultured Kids Cuisine.
Why is Collaboration Important?
According to a study in Science Direct, workers who collaborate focus on task completion 64% better than those who don’t. Additionally, companies that encourage collaboration perform five times better than average. Anzer said she believes collaboration increases productivity because workers are able to get feedback from each other and listen to fresh opinions.
“I feel like [collaboration] is a really good way to understand people’s opinions and perspectives, and once you’re working with someone that thinks differently than you, then you’re able to learn from them and … grow as a person,” Anzer told me during our interview.
Five Tips for Successful Collaboration
1. Establish Your Purpose
Before you start collaborating, you must have a clear end goal. Without a set objective, a collaborative effort won’t go anywhere. Everyone needs to know what they’re working toward; only then can your team develop a plan to reach the desired outcome.
“Knowing what I need to do in order to accomplish something makes it easier to accomplish that goal,” Anzer said.
2. Choose Your Team Members Carefully
Not every person can collaborate. Some individuals work better alone, and that’s okay. Keeping that in mind, choose your team members for a collaborative project carefully. Pick people who work well in groups and have a specific skill you need to further the project (marketing, writing, etc.). Also, consider team members with a growth mindset who are willing to hear other perspectives and try new things.
“I think the best method is understanding your team’s strengths and … assigning them tasks based on what they’re good at so that they feel more confident in doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Anzer said. “But also kind of encouraging them to … go outside of their comfort zone so that they have the ability to really develop their skills and … find interest in something else that they wouldn’t normally.”
3. Stay Focused
Assigning specific tasks and deadlines encourages accountability and prevents team members from veering off on their own path. While you want to be open to innovation during brainstorming sessions, you can’t let your team create their own assignments after a certain point. You need to be in charge, keeping meetings and projects on target. However, I do encourage you to arrange for fun events like game nights to break up the monotony of work and prevent workers from burning out.
“I think setting boundaries is really important,” Anzer said. “So when I’m with my team … I would give out announcements, and they would know that … this is a time they should be paying attention. But also, there [are] times where they can have fun too.”
4. Meet Individual Needs
Taking the time to meet one-on-one with each team member ensures individual as well as group satisfaction. People work best with others when they have personalized support. Make sure each team member knows you’re there for them!
5. Create a Team Culture
Your team members should be welcoming of other opinions and support one another. Make sure to establish a team culture where everyone’s voice is heard and valued and positive feedback reigns.
“Creating that culture really allows them to have more fun, and they wouldn’t … find … attending a chore,” Anzer said.
Anzer said she personally looks for a team culture that encourages growth and positivity. Additionally, she finds the best collaboration happens when team members possess passion and a sense of community.
Do You Need Help Collaborating?
If you need career-related counseling, the Career Service Station is here for you. Book a call with expert Robert Braathe today for advice!