The Benefits of Collaborating with Small Groups
A study by Harvard Business Review found that “having the opportunity to work together in small groups leads to higher levels of engagement, innovation, and creativity.”
In the past (i.e before the pandemic) when a group of people were working together on a project, they would be in the same room to communicate and collaborate with each other.
But now, due to advancements in technology and telecommuting, and a world pandemic… more and more people are working remotely. This has changed our work environment and turned it into a collaborative writing setting.
In this digitally-oriented world… collaboration is no longer an in-person experience but it can happen “virtually.” With the use of collaborative software such as Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365 for Business (specifically OneDrive), there is no need to be physically present to collaborate with others.
Moreover, collaborating via Slack for instance has become commonplace these days because it’s a quick and simple way of communicating ideas back and forth between employees who are not in the same location.
Group collaboration is not meant for everyone though. It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses before deciding if collaborating with groups is right for you.
What are the 7 Ingredients for Effective Collaboration?
The new generation is more collaborative than ever. They have been brought up with the internet and have been used to working on a team, from an early age, some on World of Warcraft, others in virtual classrooms. This means that they are collaborative by nature.
However, a study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review found that not all people are as successful at collaboration as they’d like to be. Therefore, we’ve decided to share some tips for how you can collaborate successfully!
1) Collaborative mindset – You should always look for opportunities to collaborate with other people. This will not only make you more productive but will also make your work more satisfying because it involves creativity and imagination.
2) Team work – When you want to be successful in team collaboration, make sure that there is a sense of trust between all group members. You should also strive for openness, where everyone focuses on what’s best for the team instead of just themselves.
3) Communication – One of the most important ingredients for successful group collaboration is communication. If you cannot communicate with the other members of the group then you will not be able to collaborate effectively.
4) Trust – Without trust in your team members, it will be difficult to work together. Without trust, people will tend to guard their ideas and withhold information that might be useful in building a better end product. It’s important to remember that the success of a project relies on everyone contributing their best effort.
5) Open mind – Another key ingredient for effective collaboration includes keeping an open mind and being receptive to new ideas from other members of the team even if they are different from one’s own perspective. This can help generate fresh ideas when approaching similar problems which may ultimately lead to better solutions.
6) Make decisions together – no one person should be making all of them alone
7) Schedule regular meetings – (e.g., once a week or once every fortnight). These meetings should have an agenda, concrete goals and call to actions so that they don’t remain pending.
Collaboration & Communication Tools for Group Projects
The right collaboration tools are important for small groups in different industries. For example, project managers use collaboration tools to divide tasks among teams. Medical doctors use them to share patient data with patients and their families. These are just a few of the many uses of collaboration tools in the workplace.
That being said, you’ll find tons of tools online, therefore in order to speed you up, we took the time to select for you the best online collaboration tools for 2022.
10 Tips For Working Effectively With Teams And Individuals.
Working effectively with teams and individuals takes a lot of time, patience, and understanding on both sides.
From our own experience we gathered these 10 tips to work effectively with any teams and individuals:
1) Understand the problem at hand.
It’s better to spend one morning discussing the in and outs of the problem rather than rushing head-on to a solution which in the end will reveal more complex than you expected.
2) Be open-minded to other people’s opinions.
Divergent opinions don’t mean that one side is wrong and the other is right. It means that you’re open to getting your ideas challenged. You should welcome a diversity of thoughts that will push you and your teams towards more creative and innovative solutions.
3) Reflect on your actions and those of others.
Did my actions help? Did their actions help? What can I do to help my team move faster? They are reflections you and your team should ask at any point during your project.
4) Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Either you will find yourself successful or you will learn from your failures. But the risk of failure shouldn’t hold you back. The greatest discoveries often stem from initial failures, don’t hold yourself back!
5) Find out what each person needs from you as a leader or team member.
Communication is key in any project. I would recommend to any team to use the daily standup we use in my Product department. It helps us know if there is anything blocking the team in their daily work. And, if you don’t hear it in a meeting, don’t shy away from asking directly team members what you can do to help them.
6) Be aware of the power dynamics in play during group interactions.
In most companies power dynamics (also known as “politics”) come into play. It’s important to acknowledge it early so that it doesn’t take over the group’s dynamic.
- Set shared goals
- Establish team roles and responsibilities
- Openly give time to each member of the group to bring their voice and ideas to the table
7) Clear goals are better goals
Be very clear about your expectations from others before you start working together with them on a project or task.
8) Know what your strengths are
By knowing what you’re good at, you can provide support for the team or individual, rather than trying to do everything yourself which will likely fail.
9) Keep the atmosphere positive
Working as a group and collaborating is not always easy. There will be up and downs. And while you cannot control and manage everyone’s mood, you can do your best to keep the atmosphere positive.
I’m not saying you should crack a joke every 5 minutes, but you can decide to bring your best self every day and that’s already a lot 🙂
10) Create a healthy, safe, inclusive environment for everyone
This means you need to be able to communicate your thoughts clearly and persuasively, be empathetic, and understand other people’s points of view. High performing teams need psychological safety
Small group collaboration is not a picnic, that’s for sure. However, with the 7 ingredients we gave you, the list of the best tools you can use to collaborate online and a few tips, you have the secret recipe to making any group work together brilliantly!
And if you have your own recipe, don’t be shy, share it with me in the comments!