CPD tips - How to improve collaboration skills

CPD tips - How to improve collaboration skills

13 Dec 2022

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The ability to collaborate is quickly becoming one of the top skills employers look for in candidates. With remote working becoming more of the norm, collaborative working has changed dramatically. This flux has further added to the modern workforce's need to develop their collaboration skills. An ability to collaborate showcases a level of effectiveness, teamwork and communication that propels projects to more impactful outcomes and helps bring teams together in the process. 

Why is collaboration so important?

Good collaboration at work improves productivity, aids problem-solving, and builds strong connections within teams. This allows colleagues to work more effectively, be more adaptable, and ultimately produce better results. An organisation with a culture of good collaboration also improves skill sharing between colleagues as members feel more involved and empowered to learn more effectively from those around them.

The best collaborators can make those they work with more engaged and work more passionately towards a shared goal. Businesses are taking note of these benefits, making collaboration a top priority for people and processes. As such, working on developing these skills can reap huge rewards for your professional career. Equally, employees want more collaboration. Studies have shown that 39% of workers feel people within their company don’t collaborate as frequently as they should.

4 ways to improve collaboration in the workplace

1. Define how you want to collaborate

Getting your team on the same page is the first step in laying the foundations for effective collaboration within the workplace. This can be complex as it often means working across departments and roles. In order to implement a best-practice approach to collaboration, it’s essential your team works together to outline your collective approach to working together. This includes defining the following:

  • The frequency of check-ins on projects
  • Where and how key information is accessed
  • What programmes or pieces of software are to be used, if at all?
  • How does each team member prefer to collaborate?
  • How can this inform how collaborative tasks are completed?
  • Are there particular functions or tasks that always require a collaborative method? Are there particular tasks or functions that don’t?
  • Agree regular reviews of the collaborative process to review and iterate to make sure it’s working

Agreeing on (or at the very least considering) these elements is an excellent start to getting your team to sing from the same hymn sheet whilst allowing team members to contribute to the process.

How to improve collaboration in the workplace

2. Focus on effective communication

Communication and collaboration are inextricably linked concepts. To collaborate effectively, good communication is key. One of the best ways you can improve as a collaborator is by working on your ability to listen. A key distinction between collaborating and working together is the element of give and take. Collaboration involves an openness to others’ ideas; it is an exercise in bringing everyone’s contributions together so you can reach the best outcome possible. Learning how to listen more actively is a surefire way to engage more productively with other ideas.

Thinking about the best approach to communication is also crucial for collaboration. What is going to be the best communication channel for the project? What should be communicated by email? Is a meeting needed? If so, what is the desired outcome? How can everyone best contribute? Will time be saved if team members prepare in a certain way? Is there a preferred time for these meetings? Again, all of these considerations will set a useful structure to allow you and your team to collaborate at your best.

3. Work on your organisational skills

Organisational skills are an essential to working collaboratively. If you’re unable to plan or manage your time effectively enough to fulfil your share of the work, you’re not going to be collaborating at your best. To be the most effective team player, it’s very important that you have the organisational skills necessary to get your responsibilities done.

In a collaborative context being able to contribute to (or even lead on) delegating work, setting goals and creating timelines is incredibly useful. This also displays a number of leadership skills that can help show a level of seniority and effectiveness that can help you progress in your career.

4. Resolving conflict

When working with others in a collaborative way, the road won’t always be perfectly smooth. Improving your ability to resolve issues when team members (including yourself) disagree is a vital skill needed to ensure that you reach the best outcome possible. The key to constructively navigating conflict is to address it head-on. Ignoring these disagreements only serves to allow them to linger and cause further disruptions down the track. Aim to address the issues in a pragmatic way that is focused on making progress towards the desired outcome, not on the emotions being felt.

5. Take a CPD course to improve your collaboration skills

With collaboration such a useful skill for employees to produce better outcomes when working within teams and also for career progression, taking the time to improve with a dedicated CPD course is definitely worthwhile. Within a course, you’ll learn best practices, processes and techniques for improving your collaboration skills. 

The CPD Certification Service is the world's leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. Within our CPD Courses Catalogue, we host numerous training courses, conferences and events, workshops and seminars from a variety of CPD providers that can enable you to collaborate more effectively.

We hope this article was helpful. If you are looking to become a CPD Provider, please contact our team to discuss your requirements in more detail. Alternatively, if you are looking to record your CPD, please go to the myCPD Portal where you can manage, track and log your learning in one simple place.

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