The 12 Most Important Collaboration Skills For Your Team — And How to Incorporate Them

a laptop showing a remote meeting

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Sara London for Hive
Sara London for Hive
May 29, 2024 at 2:55PM UTC
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 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 12 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.

2. 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.

3. Taking 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.

4. Active listening.

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.

5. Creating 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.

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.

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 in Harvard Business Review shows that diversity can drive innovation. By encouraging people from different backgrounds to come together, new perspectives and solutions might arise. 

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, and explore different points of views. 

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. 

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.”
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This article originally appeared in Hive — the world's first democratically built productivity platform. Learn more at Hive.com.

What's your no. 1 piece of collaboration advice at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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