In business, collaboration is all about working together towards the same goal.
Whether it’s for a brand launch, starting up a new company, or even just brainstorming ideas, collaboration is integral to the modern-day workplace. However, even with the best intentions, friction can sometimes occur. From ego to differing opinions and those who refuse to do their fair share of the work, collaboration isn’t always a walk in the park.
It’s easy to give up and do it on your own, but effective business collaboration creates success. When you work as part of an effective team, the seemingly impossible becomes suddenly achievable. Business collaboration is a learned skill however; so you need have the drive to see it through.
Here’s five quick tips to help you (and your team) be better collaborators:
Business collaboration begins with ideas, and those ideas don’t just come from you. Encourage your teammates to brainstorm together and share ideas, no matter how far-out it may seem. Make sure the session is a judgement-free zone so even the quietest will want to participate. Be patient and open. Ask questions so the person who came up with the idea not only thinks more about it, but also feel like they’re being heard.
Make your voice heard
If you’re usually the quiet one or don’t particularly enjoy sharing ideas, remember you were included on the team for a reason, and your advice is just as valid. You are there to participate, not observe. Be sure to include yourself in the process in a positive, engaging manner, which means, if you shoot down one idea, back it up with another. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you’re excluded from future discussion.
Be a facilitator
Sometimes it’s easier to delegate tasks and take charge, especially if no one is stepping up to manage the logistics of a project. However, it’s better for morale and job satisfaction to encourage everyone to take part and decide on their own how they will tackle their tasks. Instead of telling people what to do, ask them what they think are the next steps in meeting the deadlines. This will invigorate your team to think critically and actively think about their plans.
It’s OK to ask for help
That’s the whole point of business collaboration — to not have to go about it alone. Google can only get you so far when you’re unsure about something. Your colleagues have their own wealth of knowledge and experience you can draw on to make sure your work will excel. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you’re interested in getting better, you’re humble and not trying to be a know-it-all, and you show a fellow teammate that you appreciate their skills enough to ask for their input.
Diplomacy will get you everywhere
There will come times when you and your team will disagree and depending on how it’s handled, conflict may arise. This isn’t so great for keeping morale up and can lead to heated discussions that get nothing done. This is when you find your inner diplomat, remain calm and remember that tact will progress efforts further without jeopardizing efficiency. Showing diplomacy demonstrates good manners and maturity — traits that will get you noticed for the right reasons.
About the author
Rachel Davison is Head of People at Oak Engage. An employee engagement and collaboration expert, Rachel has over nine years of experience managing teams and getting the most out of her people. With a strong track record of helping countless teams achieve their full potential, Rachel has experienced success managing and developing relationships at a number of highly successful UK businesses.
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