A whopping 97% of employees believe that poor team alignment and collaboration negatively affects project outcomes! While you might know that team building is essential, your workers are hyper aware of how their ability to work well together affects their performance. You don’t (and shouldn’t) have complete control over how your teams operate, but there are some things you can do to improve their chances of success from the get-go.

In today’s post, we’re sharing four simple things to keep in mind for effective team collaboration.  Also, catch up on one of our recent podcast episodes where Ana Sofia Gonzalez (Senior Designer at Microsoft) discusses how diversity and different perspectives lead to creative solutions in the workplace.

What Does Successful Team Collaboration Look Like?

Poorly formed teams may manage to churn out projects despite their coordination challenges, but something or someone will always suffer in the process. A highly collaborative team:

  • Uses differing personalities and skill sets to its advantage;
  • Provides an opportunity for everyone to participate equally;
  • Strengthens workplace bonding; and,
  • Achieves goals for everyone’s benefit.

It’s not easy to build a group with all those characteristics, but you can expect exceptional returns, including greater innovation, more seamless conflict resolution, and satisfying work results.

Top Tips for Creating Explosive Group Synergy

Prioritize diversity during the team formation stage

Diversity is a hot-button issue these days, and many companies feel pressured to fill quotas as a result. Organizations with this approach are missing out on the true power of diversity and inclusion! It validates individuals and helps companies reach and often far exceed their financial and other goals. When forming a team, aim to create a melting pot of varying ages, races, countries of origin, genders, and so on. Such teams are 87% more effective at decision-making!

Establish a team connection early

Teams function best when each member feels comfortable and valued for what they bring to the table.  

Quote from Ana Sofia Gonzalez from Episode 10 on Thriver Podcast, It’s a sense of belonging and being part of a team. In order to collaborate with people, you need to be kind, treat people well and most importantly, with respect."

While it’s tempting to throw a group together and hope everyone gets along, this leaves your project’s success and workers’ happiness to chance. The good news is, there’s a science behind how humans form connections. To learn how to harness this knowledge for your team’s benefit, check out our Connected Team workshop.

Practice robust brainstorming techniques

A lot of magic happens during a project’s brainstorming stage. Allowing people to let their thoughts loose without fear of judgment can turn good ideas into powerful, actionable strategies in no time. Plus, it’s the perfect team-building exercise. Choosing a proper brainstorming method is crucial, so we wrote a quick guide to help you out with this. Feel free to click here and give it a read. You can also join our Remote Team Building workshop to master creative brainstorming in a remote setting.

Teach the necessary interpersonal skills

Communication skills are foundational for effective workplace collaboration, but we don’t often talk about how emotional intelligence plays an equally important role. Active listening, empathy, and open-mindedness are just some of the interpersonal skills necessary to achieve optimal team alignment. These are soft skills, and while they may not be as easy to pick up as technical abilities, one can still develop them through coaching and practice. We delve deeper into this topic in our soft skills article and podcast episode.

Bonus Tip: Keep the “Fun” in Functional!

Putting together a functional group of different people is challenging enough, but creating an effective synergy between them is even trickier. Keeping things lighthearted and entertaining is just as important as everything else we’ve discussed. Try out one of our many team-building activities to add that missing element of workplace-appropriate fun!