Why Collaboration is Important for Work (and How to Improve It)
When it comes to work and business, collaboration is something that simply cannot be overlooked. Success is often determined by the commitment of individuals to a group cause. For example, an IT support provider London businesses rely on needs to ensure that their service is consistent and high-quality; this cannot be achieved without unified commitment to that goal, and a group effort to achieving it.
Why Collaboration is Important
Collaboration happens at every level of a business. Departments involve lots of collaboration, and oftentimes they are even broken up into smaller work groups and teams; in that way, collaboration is both granular and very broad.
- Sharing & Learning
When people work together, they pool their knowledge and their skills. Every individual has their own skillset; and they will contribute those skills to the group effort – but more importantly, their teammates can learn from them. A collaborative team is the perfect breeding ground for learning new skills, because individuals are exposed to other’s experience first-hand. Effective collaboration will lead to participants learning from and teaching each other both actively and passively.
- Problem Solving
They say that two heads are better than one. There are many instances where collaboration leads to better problem solving – for instance, the outsourced IT support London businesses use will definitely involve collaboration whenever challenging problems arise. When you have a group of people focusing their efforts on solving a problem, provided everyone listens to one another (this is very important), then problems will get solved more effectively. As a team gains experience, this problem-solving process will only get better and quicker.
- Get to Know Employees Better
Everyone who works has their own unique background, and their own unique experiences. Sometimes an individual’s skills or unique knowledge may not be utilized properly. However, when teams collaborate, individuals are given more chances to bend their minds towards new challenges. In this way, managers can discover new facets of an individual’s wheelhouse, and therefore get a better idea of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Avoid Department Silos
As mentioned earlier, collaboration should happen on every level of a business. It is important for an organisation to foster a culture of collaboration that aims to break down the traditional barriers that often get established within a company. For instance, departments often become siloed, but a business will be more agile if collaborations between departments are more frequent, and communications between departments are more fluid.
- Better Contribution
An ideal team will encourage all participants to contribute towards different kinds of challenges. Collaboration is a great way for individuals to learn to contribute equally to projects and workloads. Collaboration and team efforts, when given time to mature and develop, will enable groups to navigate scenarios in a highly efficient manner, and contribute much more effectively to the collective goals of an organisation.
How to Improve Collaboration
As mentioned earlier, collaboration is essential to success. If you think that the collaborative effort of your company, team, or department could be improved, consider some of the following tips:
A particular collaborative strategy will not necessarily work for every single team. It is important to understand and accept this, because it makes it easier to evaluate when something is not working. A team should not adhere to a particular approach too vehemently; instead, they should remain fluid, and have the means to asses their performance, and identify where things can be improved.
- Listen to Feedback
Following on from the previous point, a successful collaborative team will have room for participants to honestly and clearly communicate their feelings. In other words, they will be able to express what they think is working and what needs to be changed. This is the most valuable form of feedback you can get, so it is very important to listen to what team members have to say.
- Utilize Tools
Collaboration isn’t all to do with the mindset of participants. They also need to have the right tools for the job. For instance, communication needs to be very easy in order to avoid unnecessary barriers to work – applications like Microsoft Teams and Slack are designed for this. As well as this, project management tools are very useful as a means to collate resources and give every project participants the ability to track their teammates and their own progress. Some individuals may also benefit from using a to-do app to help themselves keep on top of their workload.
- Look After Your Teams
Many studies and anectodal findings have confirmed that productivity and communication is negatively affected if individuals are feeling unsatisfied or unhappy. A happy, motivated, and energised individual will be better at communicating; they will have better ideas; and they will be more forthcoming when it comes to contributing to a shared goal. This is why looking after all team members is important.
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Tying in to the previous point, giving credit where it is due is very important. As a team, everyone needs to recognise each other’s contributions, and make it clear that everyone is valued for their contribution.