Collaboration Skills: Examples and Ways To Improve Them
Collaboration skills are essential for nearly every role and industry. You can develop these skills in various ways to help you find increased success in your position. Understanding how to cooperate well with others can support workplace efficiency, aid your career advancement and help you and your team achieve better outcomes.
In this article, we discuss collaboration skills, the steps you can take to improve them and how you can highlight these skills in a job search, and we offer 20 examples of collaboration skills in the workplace.
Collaboration skills can help you work well with others.
Working as a team can increase productivity and develop healthy relationships between employees.
Sharing ideas and brainstorming help develop unique solutions.
What are collaboration skills?
In the workplace, collaboration occurs when two or more individuals work together toward a common goal benefiting the team or company. Collaboration skills are what enable you to work well with others. When people work together toward a common goal, they use their experiences and skills to solve problems, learn from each other and contribute to the goal’s success. Collaboration occurs in many ways, and using your collaboration skills to connect your team can help them accomplish personal and company goals.
Why are collaboration skills important?
Collaboration skills are one of the top skills employers are looking for today’s workplace.
When employees work together, they’re often more effective than attempting the same projects alone. Working as a team can increase productivity and develop healthy relationships between employees.
Successfully collaborating with your coworkers can also increase your motivation and level of engagement at work. Additionally, sharing ideas and brainstorming helps develop unique solutions.
You may use collaboration skills to:
Reach a consensus about goals and methods for completing projects or tasks
Recognize others’ contributions, giving credit where it’s due
Identify obstacles and address problems cooperatively
Place group goals above personal satisfaction and recognition
Skills to enhance collaboration
Collaboration skills are a group of different soft skills and behaviors that promote collaboration and teamwork. Some skills focus on working personally with others, while others are more about working well in a team environment.
Personal collaboration skills
Here are some of the soft personal skills needed to foster collaboration in the workplace:
Written and verbal communication
Written and verbal communication skills are your ability to share your message with others in spoken and written words. When collaborating, you may discuss different strategies, processes and other topics to complete a task. You may also leave notes or write emails for others, making it essential to communicate your thoughts and ideas coherently and simply others can understand what you’re sharing.
Active listening is the ability to make a conscious effort to hear what someone is sharing with you. For example, if a team member shares their project idea during a meeting, you may nod to show you’re listening.
You may also repeat their message in your own words to help clarify what you’ve heard. You can demonstrate active listening during a conversation by asking follow-up questions to ensure you understand their thoughts.
Emotional intelligence is understanding your emotions and identifying how others may feel. Using your emotional intelligence in collaboration can help you discover ways to work together better.
For example, you may learn how to share feedback with a teammate based on how they react when others share constructive criticism with them in different ways. When you understand how you and others respond to various situations, it may benefit collaboration.
Trust is believing in another person’s character traits and strengths. Trusting others in a collaborative environment is when you can let them work on their tasks and know they can complete them by the deadline while following the guidelines to deliver quality work. Additionally, it can mean you trust others to ask for help when they encounter a challenge rather than trying to resolve it themselves.
Interpersonal skills are traits you rely on when interacting and communicating with others. They cover a variety of scenarios where communication and cooperation are essential. Often called people skills, they tend to incorporate both your innate personality traits and how you’ve learned to handle certain social situations.
Diplomatic skills encompass a range of strengths and abilities that enable professionals to manage professional relationships. The approaches you take to build professional relationships, perform on the job and handle stressful situations can all relate to developing strong diplomatic skills.
Compromise allows you to work toward a solution that meets the collaborating team’s needs. You may use this skill when the outcome of an issue is important to you, while you value the opinions of others in the workplace. You may prioritize finding an effective solution rather than being right in a situation.
Some collaborations can take a long time to complete, occasionally involving compromise and flexibility. Rather than rushing toward a quick conclusion, you may need to practice patience to reach a common and effective conclusion or solution.
Open-mindedness is the ability to be less judgmental and more inquisitive, introspective and considerate. It is one of the impactful skills regarding collaboration. The skill allows you to see differing opinions as valuable and thrive in diverse environments where you can interact with people with unique ideas and backgrounds.
Related: 10 Steps To Become More Open-Minded
A positive attitude makes you optimistic, motivated and enthusiastic about your work. In a collaboration, your attitude can help you improve others’ moods, collaborate more effectively and increase your job satisfaction. Others will appreciate the passion and joy you bring into the work environment.
Teamwork collaboration skills
Here are some of the collaboration skills needed to promote teamwork in the workplace:
Organizational abilities refer to how you can plan your daily tasks and time. It’s beneficial to have organizational skills when collaborating with others because it can help you develop a schedule for the team to adhere to when working. You may find it helps keep the team on track and plan their days efficiently to complete high-quality work.
Making decisions is a valuable skill demonstrating your ability to think objectively and weigh different options. With these skills, you can make informed decisions once you’ve collected all the relevant information and data and considered multiple viewpoints. All are important in collaboration at work.
The ability to adapt to various situations and challenges is essential in collaboration. When you are flexible, you can understand various perspectives, find alternative solutions to problems and alter your work responsibilities or processes as needed.
The ability to resolve conflicts is often seen as a leadership trait. This allows you to identify conflicts, pinpoint the cause, acknowledge different opinions and build a consensus. It also makes you more likely to set personal differences aside so collaborative work can continue.
When decisions need to be made quickly in collaboration, you may benefit from time management skills to keep track of important deadlines. Time management will also help you deliver timely status reports to keep everyone updated on challenges and solutions. If you have complex issues with multiple decisions to make, time management can help you stay organized during each stage of the decision-making process.
Professionalism refers to skills and behaviors that show you respect others. As an employee with a professional attitude, you show courteousness to others, take responsibility for your tasks and prove you’re a dependable team member.
Whether you work in a supervisory position, leadership skills can be valuable assets in your career. Leadership abilities mean you can motivate, instruct and offer guidance to others. People with leadership skills are confident in their abilities to help others work, collaborate, problem-solve or succeed at their responsibilities.
Project management is an acquired skill that lets you apply professional information, expertise, tools and strategies to project activities to meet the organization’s requirements and specifications. To be effective in project collaboration, you can help your team set a project objective and deadline and use all resources to meet this goal within the allotted time.
Critical thinking skills allow you to understand and address situations based on all available facts and information. The critical thinking process typically includes collecting information and data, asking thoughtful questions and analyzing possible solutions. These skills help your team work together for a common goal.
Self-motivation allows you to take the initiative. You typically need minimal supervision to start or complete your duties in collaboration or individual tasks. Self-motivation requires traits like independence, resilience, initiative and ambition.
Related: How To Stay Self-Motivated at Work
How to improve your collaboration skills
Here are a few ways you can improve your collaboration skills in the workplace:
1. Set precise goals
When leading a project, it’s essential to set measurable goals and objectives. For a team to complete its tasks efficiently and effectively, it’s vital they all understand the purpose and vision behind the project and how to determine its success. Establishing transparency builds trust and inspires further collaboration. Likewise, identifying goals before you start a project may ensure everyone commits to success and aligns with a common purpose.
2. Communicate your intentions
When working with others, state your intentions before beginning a task or assignment. Inform your teammates about what you’re doing and set realistic timeline expectations. Then follow through on your promise. If an unexpected challenge happens and the team can’t deliver the expected results, communicate these changes, too.
3. Listen and learn to compromise
When working closely with others, it’s vital you listen closely to each member’s ideas and opinions while being considerate and respectful when responding. While you may have your own ideas about the project’s direction or how the team can perform each task, it’s critical to consider your colleagues’ opinions. A helpful way to approach differing perspectives is to reach a compromise. Work with each other until you come to a solution that each party feels satisfied with going forward on the project.
4. Overcome challenges and solve problems without assigning blame
When working with others, challenges can arise or individuals make mistakes. In these circumstances, it’s essential to analyze the issue together, calmly and without placing blame on a single team member. Focus on working together to find solutions.
It’s important you’re willing to forgive mistakes when others make them and take responsibility when you make an error. This may help increase trust between members and ensure everyone feels comfortable communicating, even if they make a mistake.
5. Celebrate collaboration and its successes
Recognizing results and celebrating positive outcomes together are essential activities for effective collaboration. If you’re managing a team, set up performance rewards or bonuses for collaborative efforts to show employees that teamwork is equally important as individual achievement. Even if you’re not in a leadership position, it’s crucial you take time to commemorate achievements with your colleagues.
Related: 22 Ways To Celebrate Wins at Work
How to highlight collaboration skills
Here are a few ways you can highlight your skills during a job search:
On your resume
On your resume, there are a few sections you can highlight your collaboration skills. For example, you can create a section dedicated to your skill set and include collaboration on the list.
Alternatively, share how you collaborated with former colleagues or clients in previous roles in your experience section. Sharing that you’re a collaborative individual on your resume can help show employers you’re flexible in your working style and your ability to work with others to complete a task.
In your cover letter
For a cover letter, you have some options for discussing your skills. One way you can do this is by sharing skills you may not have included on your resume to demonstrate with companies you have a wide skill set to help you accomplish tasks.
When you select the skills to discuss in your letter, highlight how you have used the skill in the past. Detail the events that happened and how your abilities helped those around you.
Additionally, highlight your skills by expanding on the list you provided on your resume. This can look similar to sharing a story when introducing a new skill.
At a job interview
During a job interview, a hiring manager may ask you about the skills that have prepared you for the role you’re applying to earn. This is an opportunity for you to discuss your ability to collaborate well with others directly.
In an interview, the company may ask situational and behavioral questions to determine how you work and your typical reaction or approach to challenging situations. In answering these questions, you may discuss your collaboration abilities and how you can use those skills to help a situation.
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