We've all heard the saying, "Teamwork makes the dreamwork," but nobody ever asks how? How exactly does teamwork and good collaboration create high functioning teams?

As technology evolves and transforms the way we all work, we’re increasingly called on to perform complex and cross-functional tasks with others. In this article we will discuss the advantages and importance of effective collaboration.

What is good collaboration

According to a 2008 National Institutes of Health research, "Increasing specialization of skills means that you need collaboration amongst bigger and bigger groups, in order to be successful." With this need comes new questions. What makes for successful workplace collaboration? How does team collaboration improve employee satisfaction, team motivation, and create more value for companies?

In team settings, communication can make or break a collaborative project. Check out this comprehensive guide on great communicators, the do’s and don’ts when it comes to communicating, and how to use this skill to improve your collaboration skills.

Communication Skill Guide | Definition and Examples | Matter
Communication is conveying information clearly to others through written or verbal means. Learn what is communication, examples, and how to improve it.

Why do collaborative efforts matter

When professionals have a backbone of support, they can fulfill their team needs and job requirements by fostering successful collaboration. Collaborations based on direct communication, clear responsibilities, and mutual trust helps provide value to the customers you serve. An added bonus is that healthy employee collaboration practices make life at work happier too.

Check out one of our favorite TED Talks, "A Guide To Collaborative Leadership." Speaker Lorna Davis discusses how relying on just one person for a solution is dangerous. In actuality we need "radical interdependence," or collaboration.

Lorna Davis shares her guide to true collaboration and how collaborative leadership leads to success.(Video from YouTube)

Fresh new ways to promote collaboration

Effective collaboration is easier said than done. But the good news is there are many different ways to achieve effective collaboration. Here are some ways of making the road to happy collaboration a little less bumpy.

  • 🎉 Create thoughtful and fun events. Opt for casual and optional social events. Low-pressure, informal spaces like lunches and game nights can break the ice and help you build rapport between you and your team. So, when it comes time to roll up the sleeves, you'll have a foundation with your team to work off.
  • 🙌  Prompt feedback after collaborating together. Proactively ask for feedback by building it into your work culture. The next time you finish a presentation, ask your team to provide feedback on a specific skill related to your presentation right away. Psst, Matter is a great way to get valuable and relevant feedback.
  • 💪 Leverage superpowers. Connect team members who complement each other. This can empower individuals to flex their superpowers and give them the opportunity to work on their blind spots with the help of their teammate.
  • 👯‍♀️ Recognize collaborative behaviors. Consider giving a shoutout or sending a kudos to peers who work together. A great way to collaboration is giving recognization. Encouraging and celebrating team members to work together and will prompt them team up often.  
  • 📬 Send “needed/optional” meeting invites. Mention if a person’s presence is “needed” or “optional” in meeting invitations to be inclusive and respectful of their time. “Optional” allows the attendee to judge for themselves whether or not their attendance is required. This takes the guesswork out of going to a meeting and helps put people at ease when collaborating.
  • 🌒 Set a reply standard. Replying to messages in "off hours" may seem helpful in the moment, but can damage your collaborative relationship. If you need to send a message, consider prefacing it with, "Apologies for sending a late message. I wanted to make sure I got you the information I promised you. Please don't feel the need to reply to this until tomorrow."

Keep on the lookout for good collaboration 👀

Good collaboration is not black and white. Instead effective collaboration shows itself in many different ways, both big and small. Keep an eye out for it by carving out time to reflect on your collaborations and stay open to feedback. This way you and your team can get better at working together!


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Cover Photo By Pawel Olek