Unlocking Team Potential: The Key Elements Of Effective Collaboration

By Jasmine Long
May 23, 2024
4 min read

The best boxers in the world, those who have ruled their categories for years, are those who have relentlessly focused on and perfected one of the fundamentals of boxing— footwork. Even though you can’t hit people with your legs in boxing, without good footwork, you might as well stay out of the ring.

The same applies to collaboration skills in the professional world.

Even though collaboration skills don’t directly impact the bottom line, they’re one of the fundamentals that allow you to succeed in business. One study done by Stanford University stated that teams that collaborate well together are 50% more productive. 

So today, let’s look at work as one long group project, learn how to share information from a master in rhetoric, and collaborate in a professional setting. 

Collaboration skills: 5 essential elements in the modern workplace

Have everyone pull in the same direction

Having everyone pull in the same direction is about unity, clarity, and communication. And the best way to do that in the modern workplace is to follow Aristotle’s advice (yeah, that old guy). 

Aristotle, a master of rhetoric, said that every speech should do three things: 

  • Tell your audience what you will tell them in your speech. This is the intro where you explain the agenda/structure of your speech. It’s a table of contents of a book, which helps you create a structure of the speech/message in your head.
  • Tell them. This is the meat of the message/speech, where you explain each of the points on the agenda (table of contents) to your audience. 
  • Tell them what you just told them. This is the conclusion, the TL;DR, where you summarize what you just told your audience. The more touchpoints you provide to your audience, the more they will remember the message. 

These three elements will ensure everyone “pulls the boat in the same direction.” Your message will be clear, everyone will understand it, and they will work together to ensure the job gets done. Just having everyone communicate with clarity will save you over $12,000 per employee per year.

Avoid death by meetings

Talking about death by meetings— Did you know that the UN has a procedure where you vote IF you’re ready to vote for a motion…talk about redundancies.  The modern workplace has many people working hybrid or remotely across different time zones. Meetings are no longer the best medium to deliver a message. So before you send that invite, try solving the issue through Teams, Slack, or even email… crazy idea right? 

Have a relentless focus and avoid death by meetings; have them only if you can’t solve the problem by other mediums.

Best team players finish their own tasks on time

“The strength of a team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team”Phil Jackson, head coach of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls

You can’t pour water from an empty glass. To be a really great team player, you need to be a great self-starting individual who delivers on their own work. Only when you accomplish your goals and objectives can you be of help to your team members. 

When all team members pull their share of the load, then the entire team benefits and the job gets done. Collaborating is about finding a way how your individual contributions can amount to more by working with others. It’s about finding a way to get to 1+1=3. You can’t build high performance teams without high-performing individuals. 

Prepare for conflict

Where there is more than one person, there will be conflict. The more people you collaborate with, the more opinions you will have to deal with. And contrary opinions lead to conflict— that’s completely normal and expected in the workplace. 

It’s not about avoiding conflict, but about preparing for it and ensuring that you’re ready to deal with it once it happens. Learning basic conflict-resolution skills will vastly upgrade your ability to collaborate with others in the workplace. And if you want to lead a successful project, you need to use effective conflict management. In fact,72% of employees stated that effective conflict management leads to successful project execution

Use tech such as intranets

Collaboration isn’t just about interpersonal skills; you also need adequate tech and systems to ensure collaboration is easy enough for all the members in your organization. 

Intranets can provide such space, allowing your team members to receive news from the organization, stay up-to-date, communicate with other teams, and break information silos. 

We at Intranet Connections, worked with Frankenmuth Credit Union (CU) to improve communication across departments, having each of them create their own page that’s used to communicate with their colleagues and push key messages and announcements to the home page feed. 

Collaborate effectively at work with Intranet Connections

We learned how to share information like the Greeks, avoid unnecessary meetings, deliver on our goals, deal with conflicts in the workplace, and use tech to smash information silos. These five make the essential elements of collaboration skills in the modern workplace. 

And if you want more insights, especially about smashing information silos, check out our FREE eBook “Why information silos suck…and what to do about them” here!

By Jasmine Long

Jasmine is passionate about harnessing the power of digital marketing to drive social impact. She previously was the Communications Assistant at Jumpstart Refugee Talent, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating employment opportunities for refugees in Canada. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator for Intranet Connections!