8 ways to build collaborative teams

By Rachel Eleza

4 min read

8 ways to build collaborative teams
Image by Jimmy Foulds

As employers onboard one employee after another, their dream is to build a team that will work harmoniously towards achieving the company goals and objectives. You see, when teams collaborate, it becomes easier to work together to solve problems. Teams reach a great height of innovation; there’s improved communication and efficient processes. In other words, teams that collaborate well achieve tremendous success for their workplaces.However, building collaborative teams is not always easy. It takes employing different tactics to foster collaboration within the group for continued success. Nevertheless, we’ve done the research for you. Here are eight ways that you can build a collaborative team.

1. Give employees a compelling mission

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Something that contributes to society and is exciting. By providing a clear and compelling mission, employees are more likely to grow interested and be excited to participate in this collective endeavor. They’ll be inspired to work together to achieve a greater good that they can all be proud of. On the other hand, a lack of mission can demotivate employees easily as they are unclear of what the company is working towards.

2. Use collaborative tools

Technology advancements have greatly revolutionized the modern workplace. Today, employees don’t have to work in an office regularly anymore. However, when working in close proximity, the employer needs to ensure an adequate space to encourage a collaborative relationship between employees. If operating in Boston, for instance, as an employer you can partner with a local contractor to get the coworking space your team needs to ensure optimal productivity. And thanks to technology, employees can use a modern intranet to stay connected to the rest of the team working remotely or elsewhere. If you have a team working this way, you can use collaborative tools such as Jostle to foster communication among team members. 

3.  Focus on members’ strengths

Teams are made of different people who are skilled differently. As a leader, you should refrain from focusing on the weaknesses and instead, focus more on their strengths. Allow everyone to bring their best game to the table. Employees are inspired to be part of the team if they’re given a chance to showcase what they know best to the rest. Otherwise, focusing on weaknesses and shaming them in front of others only manages to have them detach themselves from the team.

4.  Encourage employee socialization

People who know each other well have no issues working together. You must encourage your employees to know each other well. Team building activities are an excellent place to start since employees get to socialize outside the confinement of the office. You can also create organic situations at the office to encourage interactions. Think of a break-out room where the relaxing environment can spark all sorts of conversations. Hot-desking, where employees pick a seat in the morning depending on the day’s work, is another great way to bring together people who would otherwise not work collaboratively.

5. Inject innovation

They are people who would never work together with others unless they are compelled to. This could be people who are mostly introverts, or those that feel intimidated by their colleagues. It is for such people that you should create opportunities to work together. For instance, you can group them and assign tasks that require brainstorming to come up with ideas. You can then encourage each member to air their opinions and views. Discourage any hints of intimidation so everyone can be free to speak honestly.

6. Minimize conflicts

Workplace conflicts are the #1 killer of team collaboation. But for people who interact on the daily, conflicts are rather inevitable. The secret of minimizing them lies in having a policy that discourages conflicts. If a person feels aggrieved by another, there should be a laid-down procedure for handling it. It is your duty as a leader to ensure that disputes are kept at a bare minimum and they are solved amicably when they arise. This is not to say that discussions should be kept short—communication is a core principle in co-creation.

7. Reward collaboration

Working together with people who have different personalities is not an easy task. That’s why teams that do it successfully deserve to be awarded and recognized. Let things like Shout-Outs be an open exercise so that the rest are encouraged to follow suit. You should never miss mentioning to the wider organization when a task that calls for collaboration is completed successfully.

8. Show it by example

The mannerisms of leaders significantly influence employee behavior in the workplace. If you don’t show collaborative efforts, it’s likely that your team will not follow suit. At every corner of your work, you should be actively portraying those values to your employees.


Collaboration is often viewed as something that only benefits the employer. That’s why most people have to be dragged along to be collaborative. Perhaps it would help if you showed your employees what they stand to gain. Let them know that not only they're creating a happy workplace for themselves but they're improving their skills by working together with a more skillful team.

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Rachel Eleza

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