Team Collaboration Tips and ToolsAs more teams are becoming remote, it is even more essential to get the right team together to accomplish set goals. The problem that most workers have is that they aren’t trained to collaborate. They attend colleges that simply don’t teach the necessary skills needed to be a good collaborator when working in teams. Yet everyone is in a team while at work, so those skills are even more important than ever before. Employees work less independently now, a trend that should continue especially because of how connected we are.

A new research report by ESI International shows that less than one third of teams effectively drive project success. 65.5 percent of workers believe that their organization’s project performance would improve if their teams worked more collaboratively. Furthermore, 80.9 percent need help with communication skills, 49.6 percent need help with leadership skills and 47.3 percent need help with critical thinking skills. The problem (again) is that companies are not providing training on these skills, so it’s left to the individual worker to handle.

Here are the top five ways to lead a high performing team and collaborate with them most effectively:

1. Get everyone on the same page.

The most important thing you can do to collaborate is to get people to work with you on the same goals. If everyone is distracted by working on their own projects, nothing gets done. As a member of the team, or the team leader, you need to sit everyone down and discuss your short and long-term goals, how you’re going to hit them and dictate who does what work.

2. Set expectations.

Everyone on the team needs to know what they have to do and when they have to do it by. They should know how much work is expected of them and the amount of hours they should put into it. They should also know what part of the project they need to be working on and who they can count on for support and resources. Leaders need to connect their teams goals to the overall strategic plan of the company. It’s important to also align the individual expectations with the shared expectations of the team. You also need to establish program metrics and timelines with the team and share progress updates so that people know when things are accomplished and can focus on other aspects of the project. Reporting is important so don’t forget to update your boss or the executives on your status so you can show steady improvement.

3. Use tech tools.

As you know from being on this site, Intuit QuickBase is a cloud-based platform to easily build your own business process applications that can help you collaborate better in teams, no coding required. QuickBase allows you to set reminders, alerts and notifications to match your team needs. Google Docs is a free and easy to use way to share Microsoft Word and Excel files, edit them and see who is accessing them. However, if you’re using spreasdsheets for online collaboration, you may want to assess if they are slowing you down or worse, causing manual errors. Evernote allows you to take notes and share them so that you can flesh out ideas and work better in a team. Timebridge gives you features like the ability the share your calendar availability, a meeting countdown, and setting up a staff meeting in one step.

4. Be open about everything.

If something isn’t going right or you aren’t getting along with a team member, you need to be upfront with it. The more you hold back the more it will impede collaboration between the team. People love transparency because it makes them feel like they are part of a team. If you aren’t honest and hold things back, then you won’t be able to get everyone on the same page and people will be angry at you for not being upfront. If something goes wrong, bring it to their immediate attention so they can help you solve the problem.

5. Hold effective team meetings.

Most teams waste time during meetings catching up about personal things. Before you start a meeting, have a reason for it. Then, tell each individual team member what they need to bring to each meeting and set an agenda. This way, you can measure the success of a meeting. Don’t feel like the meeting has to be an hour or two hours – make it more about the tasks at hand because the more time people spend in the meeting, the less time they have to do work.

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