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Collaboration Skills

Effective workplace collaboration requires certain skills from employees and an organizational culture that supports collaboration. The document discusses key collaboration skills such as clear communication, compromise, respect, and problem-solving. It also identifies challenges to collaboration like poor communication, lack of resources, and unclear objectives. Additionally, the document provides an example of how collaboration could work effectively on developing a new marketing strategy, highlighting benefits like engagement and cost-effectiveness.

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COLLABORATION SKILLS
Does Your Team Have What It Takes?
Effective Workplace
Collaboration: What
Does It Look Like?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary,
collaboration is to work with someone else in order to
create or produce something. The measure of effective
workplace collaboration is whether the output is
better than what an individual working alone would
have produced.
Team collaboration in the workplace is often taken for
granted. Employers tend to assume staff have a natural
ability to get along with each other, collaborate effectively,
and produce successful outcomes. The reality is often
very different.
Effective workplace collaboration comes with several
challenges. And so, the first step to effective collaboration
is to ensure that, as an organization, you have addressed
the challenges. Once that step is completed, you can
begin to look at whether your team members have the
required collaboration skills.
Workplace Collaboration Skills
Clear Definitions
Effective workplace collaboration requires a clear
division of labor. Roles and responsibilities
should be assigned to each party from the
outset. Business owners and managers need to
set this up as an expectation for every collaboration.
Clearly, it will be more detailed and involved for
large projects, but it’s good practice for even
smaller collaborations. One or two sentences
clarifying responsibilities is all that’s required.
It’s OK To Make Occasional Mistakes
A blame culture or holding a grudge against colleagues
that make mistakes only sabotages the whole group’s
efforts. Successful employee collaboration involves
recognizing that errors will happen from time to
time. And there has to be a willingness for individuals to
apologize for any blunders in the interests of joint
working. Plus, the ability to analyze problems without
assigning blame is key to effective workplace
collaboration.
Group Goals Supersede Personal Ones
In a successful collaboration, the group’s goals are
placed above individual ones. It’s the achievement
of the wider project that’s important here. The egos
and personal goals of individuals take a backseat
while the collaboration is in progress. Business
owners and managers need to set this as a clear
expectation.
Recognition And Respect For Others
Recognition and respect for the input of all
collaborators is an essential starting point. All
collaborators should be created equal. This
applies even in large cross-departmental teams
where members will be at different levels in the
organization. Companies should foster a sense of
tolerance and acceptance. There will be differences
in individuals’ value systems, culture, beliefs, and
work methods. Rather than being a potential source
of conflict, the organization needs to ensure
diversity is a source of strength.
DEVELOPING THE RIGHT
COMPANY CULTURE
Obstacles To Effective Collaboration
Poor Communication
Successful collaboration depends on regular
communication. Team members need to keep
each other updated. Identify your channels and
expectations about communications at the outset.
Some collaborations use a dedicated intranet
project space. And others prefer regular team
meetings. While for distributed teams, instant
messaging and a private #-channel work well.
Insufficient Resources
Collaboration sometimes fails because of a
lack of resources. It could be issues with
budgeting, technological tools, unrealistic
timeframes, or not enough personnel.
Successful collaboration requires the right
combination of sufficient resourcing to
get the job done alongside the right team
members.
Unclear Objectives
Make sure the goals and objectives for the collaboration are clearly
defined at the start. Without a project plan and a sense of direction, it’s
difficult to collaborate effectively. Spend time on developing a plan that sets
out objectives and the milestones required for success.
🗲🗲
Effective Collaboration Skills:
Top 20 Skills Required
If you check out any job description, the chances are there will be some requirement to work as part of a team.
A survey from the National Association for Colleges and Employers discovered that nearly 80 percent of respondents
look for evidence of the candidate’s ability to work well in a team.
However, another report from the Association of American Colleges & Universities found that only 40 percent of
businesses agreed that new graduates had the teamwork skills that employers actually need.
So, what are the skills that employees need to be effective collaborators and team players?
We have broken down the required skills into
• direct (requiring face-to-face contact) and
• indirect ones (those relating to behaviors and attitudes).
Direct Collaboration Skills
PATIENCE
OPEN-MINDEDNESS
DIPLOMACY
CURIOSITY
RESPECT FOR OTHERS’ OPINIONS ABILITY TO LISTEN
CONFLICT RESOLUTION
EMPATHY
ABLE TO ACCEPT CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
NOT BEING OFFENDED EASILY

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Collaboration Skills

  • 1. COLLABORATION SKILLS Does Your Team Have What It Takes?
  • 2. Effective Workplace Collaboration: What Does It Look Like? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, collaboration is to work with someone else in order to create or produce something. The measure of effective workplace collaboration is whether the output is better than what an individual working alone would have produced. Team collaboration in the workplace is often taken for granted. Employers tend to assume staff have a natural ability to get along with each other, collaborate effectively, and produce successful outcomes. The reality is often very different. Effective workplace collaboration comes with several challenges. And so, the first step to effective collaboration is to ensure that, as an organization, you have addressed the challenges. Once that step is completed, you can begin to look at whether your team members have the required collaboration skills.
  • 3. Workplace Collaboration Skills Clear Definitions Effective workplace collaboration requires a clear division of labor. Roles and responsibilities should be assigned to each party from the outset. Business owners and managers need to set this up as an expectation for every collaboration. Clearly, it will be more detailed and involved for large projects, but it’s good practice for even smaller collaborations. One or two sentences clarifying responsibilities is all that’s required. It’s OK To Make Occasional Mistakes A blame culture or holding a grudge against colleagues that make mistakes only sabotages the whole group’s efforts. Successful employee collaboration involves recognizing that errors will happen from time to time. And there has to be a willingness for individuals to apologize for any blunders in the interests of joint working. Plus, the ability to analyze problems without assigning blame is key to effective workplace collaboration. Group Goals Supersede Personal Ones In a successful collaboration, the group’s goals are placed above individual ones. It’s the achievement of the wider project that’s important here. The egos and personal goals of individuals take a backseat while the collaboration is in progress. Business owners and managers need to set this as a clear expectation. Recognition And Respect For Others Recognition and respect for the input of all collaborators is an essential starting point. All collaborators should be created equal. This applies even in large cross-departmental teams where members will be at different levels in the organization. Companies should foster a sense of tolerance and acceptance. There will be differences in individuals’ value systems, culture, beliefs, and work methods. Rather than being a potential source of conflict, the organization needs to ensure diversity is a source of strength. DEVELOPING THE RIGHT COMPANY CULTURE
  • 4. Obstacles To Effective Collaboration Poor Communication Successful collaboration depends on regular communication. Team members need to keep each other updated. Identify your channels and expectations about communications at the outset. Some collaborations use a dedicated intranet project space. And others prefer regular team meetings. While for distributed teams, instant messaging and a private #-channel work well. Insufficient Resources Collaboration sometimes fails because of a lack of resources. It could be issues with budgeting, technological tools, unrealistic timeframes, or not enough personnel. Successful collaboration requires the right combination of sufficient resourcing to get the job done alongside the right team members. Unclear Objectives Make sure the goals and objectives for the collaboration are clearly defined at the start. Without a project plan and a sense of direction, it’s difficult to collaborate effectively. Spend time on developing a plan that sets out objectives and the milestones required for success. 🗲🗲
  • 5. Effective Collaboration Skills: Top 20 Skills Required If you check out any job description, the chances are there will be some requirement to work as part of a team. A survey from the National Association for Colleges and Employers discovered that nearly 80 percent of respondents look for evidence of the candidate’s ability to work well in a team. However, another report from the Association of American Colleges & Universities found that only 40 percent of businesses agreed that new graduates had the teamwork skills that employers actually need. So, what are the skills that employees need to be effective collaborators and team players? We have broken down the required skills into • direct (requiring face-to-face contact) and • indirect ones (those relating to behaviors and attitudes).
  • 6. Direct Collaboration Skills PATIENCE OPEN-MINDEDNESS DIPLOMACY CURIOSITY RESPECT FOR OTHERS’ OPINIONS ABILITY TO LISTEN CONFLICT RESOLUTION EMPATHY ABLE TO ACCEPT CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM NOT BEING OFFENDED EASILY
  • 7. Indirect Collaboration Skills PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLS ORGANIZATIONAL ABILITIES WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS LEADERSHIP ABILITIES CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS DECISION-MAKING TIME MANAGEMENT VERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS PROFICIENCY WITH PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS KNOWLEDGE OF PRODUCTIVITY SYSTEMS
  • 8. COMMUNICATION SKILLS It’s a given that good internal communication is at the heart of effective workplace collaboration. The better a team communicates, the better it will be able to cope with the challenges. Good communication will address any uncertainty about roles and responsibilities as well as clarity of purpose. Effective workplace collaboration requires employees to express themselves clearly. And to keep colleagues updated on the project through multiple channels of communication, like video-conferencing, instant messaging, email, phone, and of course, in person. However, communication skills cover a broad range of requirements. Good collaborators are active listeners. If they are unsure about a point, active listeners ask for clarification. They summarize what’s been said and check it out before moving on. Written communication is, of course, critical to successful collaborations, especially if the collaboration is taking place between a team of remote workers. But verbal communication is just as important. Whether it’s a Zoom conference call or an in-person team meeting, good collaborators share their insights concisely and respectfully engage in debate. Often underestimated but equally important are nonverbal communication skills. Your body language and tone often say more than the words you speak. Effective collaborators know how to both use and read nonverbal communication, resulting in stronger social relationships. When drafting a job description, consider including the following requirements: • The ability to actively listen to others’ viewpoints and facilitate and positively contribute to group discussions. • A strong communicator who expresses themselves verbally, nonverbally, and in writing. • Excellent organizational skills, managing different communication channels, and being able to clearly and concisely update colleagues on progress. Let’s look at some of the critical collaborative skills in more detail.
  • 9. Successful workplace collaboration requires employees to be good at problem-solving. Being creative, using initiative, and finding solutions are all critical aspects of employee collaboration. This attribute is important for completing tasks and also to manage difficult situations within the collaboration. The most effective workplace collaborators can analyze problems, identify the severity and possible impacts. And they are also adept at brainstorming to come up with creative solutions. To ensure you recruit the right candidate, consider including the following in your job descriptions: • The ability to problem-solve and seek creative solutions in challenging situations. • Gathers and analyzes information skillfully and within agreed timeframes. • Can identify obstacles to success and achieve consensus about the best way forward. PROBLEM- SOLVING SKILLS
  • 10. People skills are fundamental to a good employee collaborator. The worker should be a team player focused on achieving common goals for the greater good of the organization. Those who are motivated by personal goals tend not to be the best collaborators. Having a sense of humor also come in handy, along with the ability to speak respectfully to colleagues. The capacity to compromise is another crucial interpersonal skill. Some compromise is required in workplace collaboration. Reaching the best solution involves an amalgamation of ideas and plenty of compromise along the way. All the best collaborators are open to new ideas. Open-mindedness is an essential attribute. Colleagues will inevitably have different views and perspectives. However, successful collaboration requires employees to respect those differences and listen to others’ views without passing judgment. So, when it comes to the right interpersonal skills, consider including the following in your recruitment campaign. • Capable of working well with others and effective at getting the input of everyone on the team, including quieter members. • Able to compromise and is willing to make concessions to move the group forward in finding solutions. • Treats others with respect, tact, and consideration regardless of their status or position. INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
  • 11. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SKILLS Effective workplace collaboration is dependent on the ability to organize and share information. Juggling document management, project management, and communication channels while completing tasks requires excellent time and resource management skills. Furthermore, successful employee collaboration involves individuals freely sharing their knowledge and expertise within the group. There’s no place for employees who hoard their knowledge or create information silos. However, sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. And so, resourcefulness and adaptability also come under this category of necessary skills. Successful collaborators don’t walk away when the project goes a bit haywire. Instead, they roll their sleeves up, adapt to the new situation, and employ their problem-solving abilities. The following requirements will help to ensure candidates have the necessary resource management skills. • Able to make effective use of tools and resources to organize and share information with colleagues. • Uses their initiative to develop systems ensuring information, data, and knowledge are shared to support project aims and objectives. • Prioritizes and effectively plans work activities and can adapt to changing conditions.
  • 12. TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS PLUS RELIABILITY AND DEPENDABILITY Finally, workplace collaboration is all about trust. To be effective, each collaborator must trust that their colleagues will perform their role to the best of their ability. Reliability, dependability, and consistency are important attributes for effective collaboration. If the team isn’t reliable, then chaos is inevitable. Organizational abilities, as well as time management skills, are essential for workplace collaboration. Effective collaborators can take care of their responsibilities, manage their workloads, and meet deadlines. This aspect is so important that you may want to include the following requirements in your job descriptions. • Commitment to investing the necessary time and energy to complete the tasks and fulfill the role’s expectations. • Able to meet the required deadlines for the role and individual contributions to project teams. • Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals and team objectives on time and within budget.
  • 13. EXAMPLES OF COLLABORATION What does effective workplace collaboration in action look like? Let’s take an everyday scenario common to most organizations. Using this example, we illustrate how effective collaboration might work in your business. Workplace Scenario: Development Of A New Marketing Strategy Most companies have a marketing strategy in place, so let’s assume your one is up for review. How would you approach this task in your company? For most businesses, the review involves selecting a few key staff and setting up a meeting. The current marketing strategy is then revised over email. The draft document is usually sent around several times as edits and comments are actioned. No doubt, there will be a few glitches along the way due to misunderstandings about roles and responsibilities. No worries, you get there in the end. Once the board agrees on the new strategy, its publication is announced in an all-staff email. And hard copies are distributed across the company. Does this have a ring of truth for your business? Well, it’s certainly not an uncommon approach. But how would the process work in a business that has effective workplace collaboration skills in operation? Let’s take a look.
  • 14. 1. Setting Up A Project Team The intranet’s staff directory identifies areas of expertise and subject knowledge. Setting up a project team with cross-departmental representation, therefore, becomes a much easier task. Clear roles and responsibilities are assigned and agreed upon by the project team. 2. Create A Shared Project Space On The Intranet Access is restricted to only members of the project team. Regardless of location, team members use the project space to brainstorm ideas, share insights and information. 3. Develop A Project Plan And Timeline Key milestones and accountabilities are identified, and the project plan is published on the intranet’s project space. Team members report on progress in real-time using an MS Project spreadsheet embedded in the intranet project space. EXAMPLES OF COLLABORATION
  • 15. 4. Staff Views Are Sought Through An Intranet Poll Consulting with the wider workforce helps to achieve a better final product. And it also enhances employee engagement across the board. We all know that engaged employees tend to be happier and more productive. So, be sure to canvass the views of workers through an intranet survey. 5. Develop A Draft Marketing Strategy Instead of emailing different versions, embed MS Word or Google Docs in the intranet’s project space. Team members can simultaneously work and comment on the draft in real-time. And the document is automatically updated by the intranet. Team members can be confident they are accessing the very latest version. 6. The Board Approves Finalized Marketing Strategy Instead of printing and distributing the final strategy to all teams, publish the document on the intranet. And inform all staff through the intranet’s news feed. Employees can then access or download the full strategy directly from the intranet anytime they need to. Faster, more streamlined, and ultimately more cost-effective, the collaborative way of doing things achieves a better outcome. EXAMPLES OF COLLABORATION
  • 16. BENEFITS OF WORKPLACE COLLABORATION Most jobs involve some form of a joint effort with team members working collaboratively to achieve common goals. With so much riding on workers’ ability to collaborate effectively, employers cannot afford to leave it to chance. Developing the right collaboration skills requires a proactive approach from employers. First, you need to foster a supportive company culture. And then, you have to select individuals with the right skillset. However, having the right collaboration tools in place also makes a big difference. Cloud intranet software makes it easier for staff to collaborate – whether they are in the office or working remotely. Want to ensure your organization is geared up for collaboration? Contact the team at MyHub to explore how an intranet can support effective workplace collaboration skills in your business. Sign up for a free demo or a 14-day no-obligation trial.