The 16 Most Important Collaboration Skills For Your Team

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Collaboration skills are critical when working remotely, as sometimes it can feel like information gets lost in the shuffle of technology. Luckily, with the help of remote work tools like Hive, you can build take your collaboration capabilities from ordinary to extraordinary – all while you build skills that can benefit you on and offline.

Here are 15 of the most important collaboration skills that will help your team thrive in today’s workplace.

1. Don’t assign blame

One of the most essential collaboration skills for your team involves staying away from the blame game. It can be easy to see when a teammate drops the ball on a deadline or project, and sometimes, those miscommunications can make you feel frustrated, angry, or exasperated. But stay away from blame, as it will make collaborating harder in the future.

Being clear about who’s taking on what tasks can help eliminate any uncertainty about due dates, obligations, or blame. Hive’s task prioritization tool is handy in preventing negativity from bouncing between teammates, as you have an easy way to see which important tasks have to be done quickly.

2. Practice self-analysis

Next, take your team collaboration to the next level by taking a long look at yourself. This will result in further insight into personal collaboration skills for your team. The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to understand what makes you tick, how you communicate, and how to best work with others.

To keep all your ducks in a row, you can use Hive to construct your own personal to-do list. With this, you can keep track of what items you value and which you feel can fall by the wayside. In doing that, you’ll be able to better understand your individualized issues and successes with collaboration.

3. Take responsibility

Next, it’s important to take responsibility if you want to collaborate fluidly. Taking responsibility is different than avoiding blame because even if you don’t point your finger at someone else, you could still be pointing that finger away from yourself. When you hold yourself accountable for mistakes and shortcomings, it subliminally informs your team that you’re a reliable partner.

With Hive, you can monitor your workflow so you can consistently feel like you’re in control of your responsibilities. By seeing the time spent on each action with the time tracker, you can sit down and visualize what you may have spent too much time on, what you could have done differently, and how you can change for the better to help your teammates pick up the slack.

4. Be an active listener

Though you may already be a good listener, remember that active listening kicks collaboration skills for your team up a notch. The more you listen intently, the better you’ll be at knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your coworkers. Studies show that both active listening and self-awareness are significantly associated with empathy, which humanizes personalized collaboration efforts.

There’s no better way to listen actively than to take notes as your teammate talks, and keying in on great ideas is easier than ever with Hive’s Zoom Notes. With Hive Notes, in particular, more than one teammate can make notes simultaneously, making your coworkers feel like they’re really being heard.

5. Create psychological safety

Good collaboration requires a solid place to exchange ideas that could be seen as edgy. That’s why psychological safety in the workplace is so important. Coined by Harvard Business School professor Dr. Amy Edmondson, psychological safety means that a team fosters the individual’s ability to engage in “interpersonal risk-taking,” like admitting to burnout without fear of repercussions or saying an unpopular idea in a meeting.

Collaboration works best when you’re honest and transparent, and you know that your coworkers feel the same way. Hive can help you see the workload of your coworkers so that you can begin to see when they’re overloaded without having awkward conversations. Then, you can offer aid to your team when they need it, creating an environment where they feel heard and seen.

6. Communicate expectations

The digital age has set a bit of an expectation for immediate responses, and working from home may have worsened that need for instant gratification. That’s why a team’s collaboration depends on communicating expectations about when and how you respond to your teammates.

You can set your status to let everyone in your workspace know where you are and what you’re doing. Even if you’re just dodging up to get a cup of coffee, in a meeting, or going on a quick Peloton ride, you can let your coworkers know that you’re not ignoring them, you’re just taking a short break – as you’re entitled to do (within reason, of course).

7. Learn to compromise

One of the most vital collaboration skills for your team includes learning to compromise. It’s important to know what hills you want to die on and which you’d rather leave in the rearview mirror, and being flexible is of the utmost importance when you’re working with a team. That way, your products can be a reflection of each and every coworker on the project rather than just a reflection of yourself.

It’s not difficult to get clear and concise input from teammates using tools like proofing and approvals. That way, you can sign off on changes quickly and give your coworker the chance to chime in without spending time bickering over minutiae.

8. Celebrate successes

Lastly, it’s necessary to praise your teammates and commend them on a job well done. According to a Gallup poll, just one-third of workers say that they’ve received recognition for their efforts in the past week. Those who don’t feel like they’re appreciated are twice as likely to want to quit. By celebrating successes, you can create an environment that promotes positivity and creates a cycle of reinforcement around healthy collaboration.

Keeping track of milestones with Hive is an easy way to make sure that no one’s accomplishments slip under the radar. Having a small reminder helps make regular days feel special, and enjoying that feeling with your team leaves you with a deeper bond and more optimistic emotions around collaboration.

9. Welcome feedback

Most projects involve different teams and can affect multiple people. Successful project managers get internal and external stakeholders engaged early on. This approach not only allows opportunities and risks to be assessed from the get go, saving time and money, but also increases innovation. A study featured at Harvard Business Review, shows that diversity can drive innovation. By encouraging people from different backgrounds to come together, new perspectives and solutions might arise. 

Hive custom forms make collaboration easier. You can create custom forms that anyone (i.e., internally or externally) can fill out in their browser. Your team also has the ability to create action cards with all the form details automatically. These action cards will maintain all of the information in one place, facilitating tracking and reporting within the Hive ecosystem.

10. Be adaptable

In project management adaptability is highly required. When deadlines change, technical difficulties delay progress and people get sick, it’s crucial to be flexible and creative to find alternative solutions. Sometimes all it takes is to look at the issue from a different perspective, perhaps even a different layout view. Being adaptable takes practice and experience. Instead of panicking when a challenge occurs, brainstorm a solution to the problem with your team, explore different point of views. Pro tip: Hive offers 6 different ways to view a project. For example: when managing a team’s schedule, it might be useful to explore the Team or Calendar views, but if you are working on the progress of the tasks in a specific project the Gantt chart or Status view might offer better insights.

11. Find or become a mentor

When a team grows together everyone wins. Share your experience, expertise or unique skill with a colleague and look for someone who has an ability you would like to master. You don’t need to be trading knowledge with the same person. Mentoring can be done with different people in your team, organization and even outside your company. Whether you become a mentor or a mentee, your ability to communicate, establish goals and give/receive feedback will improve. Using your know-how to help others even when it doesn’t seem to directly benefit you, will certainly take you further in your career and improve your collaboration skills.

Pro-tip: Use Hive Forms to survey your organization on skills and expertise people are willing to share and what knowledge they are searching to learn.

12. Be organized 

Projects have a lot of phases and layers, which makes it essential to have assets and documentation organized. Successful leaders can invest in mentoring and training people to make the organization part of their collaboration routine. Jacobs Morgan, author and researcher of the future of work, reinforces this idea by saying that collaboration should be perceived as part of the workflow, not an additional step.

In an article published by Forbes, he suggested: “For example, instead of having employees use multiple usernames, passwords, and log-in sites; create a “front-door” to the enterprise accessed through your collaboration platform.” And if employees do have several different usernames and passwords to keep track of, consider utilizing password management tools to streamline this process and enhance security.

Pro-tip: When using Hive as your project management software, use labels to organize your projects and categorize your actions for easy viewing

13. Join team building activities

Collaborating is pretty much at the center of how all business operates. Remote and hybrid work brought a new challenge when it comes to team building. Whether we are gathered around the water cooler in the breakroom or going out for a group lunch to the deli down the street, in these non-working moments we are building relationships. That doesn’t happen in the same way over Zoom meetings, especially when a coworker have a still image or a black square on their screen. How about organizing a gathering outside of work where everyone can meet up (if you all live in the same city and there aren’t any health restrictions)?

This is a great way to get to know who you are working with and can really boost morale and camaraderie within a team. Using Hive Forms, you can create a questionnaire to find out food restrictions, survey best dates and locations for the meet-up. Then add the gathering details into your team’s Hive’s calendar. Last step? Have fun!

14. Manage your time effectively 

Remote workers need to be able to manage their time effectively, balance their workload, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines, all while wearing sweatpants and folding laundry outside their webcam’s view. Seriously, time management is a critical skill for ensuring your team’s successful productivity.

Keeping schedules up to date can effectively communicate your availability to your teammates. You can set aside specific blocks of time for focused work by making yourself unavailable. This makes scheduling meetings, projects, and tasks much smoother. Plus: this helps to build trust and maintain positive working relationships since transparency allows everyone to know what everyone else is working on. Hive’s calendar has a customizable view that can show and hide elements and display set time periods, making it easy to keep things from getting cluttered.

15. Demonstrate empathy in the workplace

When you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their emotions, ideas and opinions you prove to be caring and compassionate. These skills can even help you to prevent burnout in your team. A Deloitte study of 1,000 professionals demonstrated that the top driver of burnout is a lack of support or recognition from leadership.

If you’re a manager, you can watch for signs of burnout in others and help them to reduce their workload, a simple weekly check-in can make a big difference. You can also show interest in others’ tasks and projects, and you will not only gain a holistic perspective of what’s going on in different departments but also engage and create deeper bonds with your team. Authors and big proponents of empathy in the workplace, Adrienne Boissy and Christine Porath suggest a series of weekly and daily exercises to help you demonstrate compassion in the workplace. One of our favorites is writing personal notes to colleagues expressing gratitude or acknowledging their efforts.

16. Become inclusive of your references and language

Ever since the pandemic, companies are more open to remote work which expanded the pool of talents, and consequently expanded as well our exposure to different cultures. That’s why it has become such an important collaboration goal, to use respectful and inclusive language that acknowledges and appreciates diverse backgrounds, nationalities, languages, beliefs, and career paths.

Avoid references that can be alienating or marginalizing, and actively seek to understand and learn from different perspectives. This fosters a welcoming and respectful environment where everyone feels valued and their contributions are recognized.

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