If there’s one thing most college or high school students can agree on, it’s this: Team projects and group work is rarely fun. Sure, the idea of getting together to do work sounds appealing, but, as we all know, it’s much more difficult than it sounds. Not only do you have the task of delegating who will do what (and when it needs to be done by), but you have to work with what each person is bringing to the table, skills and attitudes included.
When given the option to do a project alone or with a group, it’s easy to understand, then, why so many students choose to go it on their own.
Of course, as you get older and you find yourself working, opting out of teamwork is rarely a choice. And, while the setting and project tasks might have changed, the need to work together as effectively as possible hasn’t. Regardless of personalities or ideas, your team has been chosen to work together for a reason. And, if you don’t make it work, it can impact an entire business – including your own livelihood.
Why does collaboration impact productivity?
When you start to look at the elements that promote productivity, you see how collaboration is impossible to separate.
For example, productivity depends on organization. But, the only way organization can happen is if everyone on the team agrees to their roles and responsibilities. Everyone on the team must collaborate within the systems put in place in order for a business to operate in an organized and efficient way.
Another key component of productivity is delegation, which means creating a team that is willing to work together in order to get the job done. If a team is able to collaborate effectively, then delegating tasks is easy. If, however, a team is having trouble working together, then even the simplest tasks can get lost and unfinished.
Productivity also depends on the intelligent use of technology, especially in terms of project management tools. If a team is able to streamline how projects get assigned and completed, then they immediately become more efficient. Of course, technology is only technology. In order for it to do its job within a business, it needs to have a team that is collaborating in order to get the most out of it. There are some project management tools, like Vabotu, that help cultivate collaboration within teams, making even teams that consist of all remote workers efficient and cohesive.
Vabotu specifically promotes collaboration and productivity because it helps teams create goals and set (and stick to) deadlines. According to the majority of small business owners, setting goals is one of the best ways to make your business productive because your employees understand where the finish line is. With Vabotu, these goals are not just prominent, but they are also easy to track, which helps your team work together more easily.
And, when it comes to setting deadlines, Vabotu can help here, too. Without deadlines, it’s impossible for your team to succeed. Vabotu helps by allowing specific deadlines to be communicated through team messaging and collaboration boards, ensuring that everyone is working together towards one common goal. By prioritizing which task needs to be done first, Vabotu keeps your entire team on track, knowing what they are responsible for and exactly when it needs to be complete in order for the team to succeed.
Here are six specific ways to improve team collaboration and enhance productivity…
- Promote innovation. The more important each of your team members feel, the more excited they’ll be to show up to work with a good attitude. One of the best ways to help individuals feel acknowledged is through opportunities for innovation. Remember, each of your team members brings a unique set of skills and ideas, ones that they are excited to share. Create space for innovation and invention to take place and you’ll be amazed at how much better your team works together. Business experts suggest that the most effective way to promote innovation within a team is to allow for creativity without restraint. This means that your team should feel free to dream and imagine without worrying immediately about practical restraints, such as budget.
- Keep everyone organized. The better each person understands what they are responsible for, the better they’ll be able to collaborate. Just as the players on a soccer team are each responsible for their own position in order to stay organized, your team members need to know what you expect them to do – as well as those tasks they aren’t responsible for. If you want your team to really be able to collaborate effectively, they need you to take on a strong leadership role. (Think of yourself as the coach of the team.) And, as a strong leader, you need to be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each person on your team, giving them responsibilities that showcase what they’re best at.
- Let personal stories be shared. If the leader is the only one who understands the members of the team, then it will be difficult for them to collaborate effectively, especially when left to work together on their own. This is why it’s so important to create space and opportunities for the individuals on your team to share about themselves: What is their story? Why are they here? What do they do? What’s their motivation? This type of team-building promotes empathy, which makes it easier for collaboration to take place. For example, when compromises are needed, your team will be more willing to look for the greater good (not what’s best for themselves) when they’ve come to understand where each person is coming from.
- Foster the freedom to communicate. Productivity and collaboration both depend on your team’s ability to communicate regularly and openly. Everyone on your team should feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns, knowing that their opinions and ideas will be heard. As a team leader, create a way for two-way dialogue to take place. The more you can follow-up with what you’re hearing within your team (making changes if necessary), the more you’ll be respected as a leader – and the more your team will be happy doing the work needed to make your business succeed.
- Adopt intelligent project management tools. In today’s online world, team collaboration (and therefore productivity) cannot exist without tools and technology that bring people together. When you put a project management system in place like Vabotu, you set your team up for success. Not only does this tool make team messaging fast and simple, but it becomes the hub for project goals and deadlines. Offering team messaging, tasks, and collaboration, Vabotu gets everyone on your team together in one place, which means that projects stay on deadline, clients stay happy, and everyone on the team knows what they should be doing and when.
- Be intelligent – and transparent. As a team leader, you need to understand the individual interests of your team members, as well as communicate what’s in the best interest for the team as a whole. Through transparency, your team can learn to appreciate what each person brings to the table. Many team leaders find that a tool like Vabotu is a great way to create transparency because it allows projects and tasks to be shared within the entire team. The more aligned your team can be, and the more they understand what each person is responsible for, the more willing they will be to collaborate.
Collaboration breeds productivity, which is why finding ways to help your team work together more effectively is as good for them as it is your profits.