Teamwork and Collaboration

Teamwork and Collaboration


What are Teamwork and Collaboration?

Life is a team sport, and the professional world is no different. Teamwork is all about effective collaboration with others, usually to come up with new ideas or make decisions together to complete a goal.

Good team players have achieved a mix of interpersonal, problem-solving, and communication skills. They are able to work, negotiate, and manage conflict within a team structure. Teamwork and collaboration skills are important in the workplace because teamwork solves problems – by working together, teams build morale and help organizations operate more efficiently.

Teamwork and collaboration also take into consideration intercultural management, all cultural differences, and deals with them. An efficient and healthy team makes for better work, increased productivity, strong interpersonal relations, and mostly, less conflict between colleagues.

Both teamwork and collaboration require a group of people to operate together to fulfill a common objective. The key difference between collaboration and teamwork is that teamwork merges the individual and single efforts of all team members to complete an objective, whereas collaboration has team members working together – collaboratively – in order to complete a collective project. In collaboration, there is usually a sense of community; people tend to work together as equals to come up with ideas and make decisions. Meanwhile, in teamwork, leaders emerge. They oversee the projects’ advancements and delegate tasks to team members in order to reach the team’s end goal.

Ways to Develop Your Teamwork & Collaboration Skills

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.
― Phil Jackson

Set Team Goals and Rules
  • First and foremost, it is important to set a strategic overview of your team’s goals and objectives. Having clear team goals, discussing them, and adapting them is what allows for the team to stay focused and smash the objectives!
  • Basic rules are also unmissable when it comes to teamwork. The same way parents usually impose a “no-phone-at-the-table” rule, so can you! Discussing rules with your team and implementing them will create clear expectations and boundaries, making it comfortable for all!
Listen More Than You Talk
  • Listening is important because it allows for you to leave enough room for quieter team members to voice their opinions and creates a safe place to share ideas. Listening is also about reading the room and being aware of everyone’s personalities in order to understand your teammates.
  • Communication is paramount. Keep in mind that communication is a two-way street: getting your idea across clearly is as important as clearly getting a teammate’s message. Don’t hesitate to use silly drawings or pictures to clarify your point and bring down possible barriers!
  • Communication is most efficient when it is anticipatory as well. Presenting your ideas in advance of any calls/meetings so that your team can better understand your aims in advance will make discussion and decision-making much easier.
  • Vary your communication mediums. Everyone is different and everyone has preferences. Playing on those preferences and juggling between different communication modes can satisfy everyone. Zoom calls, text messaging, in-person meetings… Take your pick!
Strong Sense of Group Commitment
  • Group commitment is essential: without it, teamwork becomes virtually impossible because team members’ individualities will eventually get the upper hand.
Play to Your Team’s Strengths
  • Recognising your team’s strong skills, planning around them, and then splitting the workload equally will allow your team to operate smoothly. Ensuring a clear role for everyone whilst playing to their strengths is a recipe for success!
  • Keep in mind, however, to be open and encourage diversity in tasks!
Creativity and Innovation Are the Norms
  • Innovation at the service of teamwork can open unsuspected fields: you can innovate on various aspects in order to always push the cohesion further.
Check-ins and Team Cohesion
  • Check-in with your team regularly, formally or informally! It is important to do so and it builds trusting relationships with team members.
  • Sharing successes, celebrating, and being open-minded will create team cohesion! To further the cohesion, you can go for team-building exercises as well.
Solve Teamwork Problems and Conflicts
  • Problems and conflicts are lethal to a team. If you don’t address issues when they arise, they will make your team implode in the long run.
Practice Participative Leadership
  • Participative Leadership is the tip you want to implement: by allowing your teammates to participate in executive decisions, you demonstrate the trust you have in them.
Be Flexible!
  • When it comes to teamwork & collaboration, being flexible and adaptable is essential. Whether it is flexibility with colleagues or situations, adapting to anything and rebounding further develops teamwork skills.
  • Ask for feedback and give some! Feedback isn’t critiquing, but an improvement process: it allows you to learn and outgrow mishaps.

An efficient and healthy team makes for better work, increased productivity, strong interpersonal relations, and mostly, less conflict between colleagues.

Developing Teamwork & Collaboration Skills During Your Pagoda Projects Programme

During your programme, regardless of the type of programme you are on, there are ways to develop your teamwork skills.

  • On a Skills Programme: Why don’t you team up with some of your fellow participants to put together a group challenge entry?
  • Working with Colleagues on a Project: Is your communication working well? Have you set clear expectations that you can all hit in terms of deadlines? Have you established some team rules? 
  • Completing a Remote Internship Programme:  Make sure to ask all the questions you need during your time with your Host Company!
  • Paired with a Cultural Mentor: Express yourself clearly for a successful shared cultural experience! Don’t forget teamwork is based on communication.
  • Struggling with a Course whilst Completing a Skills Programme: Create a study group and play to each other’s strengths!

Develop Teamwork & Collaboration Skills Through Our Courses

Digital Competency

This course sets out to develop your digital skills and gives you the basics to learn, work, and interact efficiently using digital tools. As interaction is a huge part of teamwork & collaboration, this course is essential to build up your skills in different online collaboration softwares.

  • Pagoda Competencies: Teamwork and Collaboration, Professionalism, Digital Fluency, Career Development
Intercultural Fluency

This course sets out to develop your cultural fluency and adaptability when working in a multicultural environment. When it comes to teamwork & collaboration, understanding how to work with your colleagues from different backgrounds will make for great collaboration skills. With this course, you will gain an understanding of what cultural fluency is and how to apply your knowledge of working across cultures to different workplace scenarios.

  • Pagoda Competencies: Teamwork and Collaboration, Intercultural Fluency, Communication
Workplace Basics

This course is about providing you with all the workplace skills needed to meet your employer’s demands. In terms of teamwork & collaboration, you will gain a clearer understanding of how to communicate effectively within a professional team.

  • Pagoda Competencies: Teamwork and Collaboration, Communication, Professionalism, Digital Fluency, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Sources & Additional Resources

  1. Understanding the Differences Between Teamwork and Collaboration
  2. 10 Tips for Better Teamwork
  3. Teamwork & Collaboration Skills
  4. TEDx Talk: Cultivating Collaboration: Don’t Be So Defensive! – Jim Tamm
  5. TEDx Talk: Teams Start With Human Connections – Matt Eng
  6. TEDx Talk: How to Turn a Group of Strangers Into a Team – Amy Edmondson
  7. TEDx Talk: The Power of Collaboration – Dr. Shelle VanEttten de Sánchez
  8. TEDx Talk: How to Build Teams That Win – Prakash Iyer
  9. Shannon Waller’s Team Success Podcast: This podcast series is all about teamwork. Shannon Waller, a leading team expert with Strategic Coach since 1995, hosts and offers her expertise: from switching your worry into creativity to strategies in order to nail collaboration within a team. She tells us everything.
  10. Outback Talks – The Employee Engagement Podcast: This is a great resource for business professionals who want to better understand how to build an engaged team in the workplace. Each episode is filled with tips and advice on team building. There are some interviews with experts in business as well.
  11. The Secrets of Great Teamwork
  12. Teamwork, collaboration, coordination, and networking: Why we need to distinguish between different types of interprofessional practice
  13. The Impact of Collaboration among Members on Team’s Performance