4 Effective Ways To Collaborate With Your Team

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  • 08 Mar 2024
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Team cooperation is not always simple, especially if you are a young leader who is still developing interpersonal skills and trust among your team members. You may discover that your efforts to work with your team are hampered by opposing goals, cultural hurdles, or geographic distance. These obstacles may make you wonder if you have what it takes to bring people together to work toward a shared goal. 

Yes, you do. 

However, you may need to change how you approach team cooperation. Instead than concentrating all of your time and energy on collaborating with your team, you can strive to first understand your team—beginning with yourself and your place on it.

1. Understand Your Role as a Leader on the Team

A leader's responsibility in team cooperation is to direct the team toward success. A leader may do this in two ways: by clarifying goals and encouraging team engagement.


One of my coworkers was promoted a few years ago to supervise a territory's marketing strategy and take over the team she previously worked on. In her first opportunity to work with her new team on a sales-building strategy, she happily submerged herself in the minutiae of execution and plunged right into the logistics.

These were past activities that contributed to her success as a team supporter. However, effective collaboration with a team as a leader necessitates a different approach. It asks you to let go of your concerns about your personal performance and think larger and more strategically. It requires you to define the objective you want the team to work toward and provide a procedure for achieving it.

Without a defined goal, cooperation might resemble a chaotic brainstorming session with ambiguous next steps rather than a purposeful procedure that boosts productivity. My colleague soon realized this and was able to adapt her approach.

In a Slack study, respondents stated that the explicitness of a goal is critical for effective team communication. When a leader fails to articulate a purpose, the team struggles to grasp their roles and communicate with one another.


In addition to bringing a clear goal for your team to focus on, you as a leader can create successful team collaboration by inviting and encouraging all team members to express their distinct viewpoints and thoughts. Teams are made up of people with different personality types and work styles, and they may not always feel comfortable or forced to speak up. However, the finest team ideas are generally developed when everyone on the team participates.

When I worked in marketing, I supervised an introverted young woman who had grown up in a society where women, in particular, did not talk unless they thought they had something "notable" to share. This person's definition of significant was frequently a lofty, nearly unattainable standard. So, during team interactions, I made a point of prompting her to share her opinions when appropriate.

When you are a leader looking to work effectively with your team, it is critical to identify who dominates talks and who is underrepresented in them and strike a balance. According to introvert specialist Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D., leaders who wish to develop more team cooperation among introverted players can consider offering team members opportunity to contribute answers to problems in writing rather than pressuring them to speak up orally.

After you've spent some time understanding your position as a leader in encouraging team cooperation, you can shift your emphasis to knowing your team.

2. Understand Your Team’s Perception of Collaboration

Discovering how your team views working together is a critical first step toward better cooperation. 

When I first started leading a team, I noticed that my staff would sometimes hold back their thoughts during brainstorming sessions and meetings. They had worries about presenting their thoughts with a larger group. I was originally unsure if this was due to a lack of confidence in their ideas or a lack of content to present.

After enquiring about this trend, I discovered that previous attempts at team collaboration had instilled distrust among the team members. Under former leadership, team members openly contributed their ideas, which were then freely (and wrongly) claimed as their own.

A leader's duty in developing a collaborative team environment is to understand how their team approaches working together—to examine what beliefs or assumptions the team has that may have a negative or positive influence on how they cooperate to achieve a common objective. Many leaders may use this evaluation to eliminate the fear or desire for competition among colleagues by fostering a team culture in which all ideas are appreciated and credit is frequently shared.

Collaborating with your team might be easier and more productive if you've identified and defined their perspectives about working together. Those impressions may include both good and negative outlooks, but once identified, you may attempt to demolish or strengthen them.

3. Understand Your Team’s Motivations

Several years ago, I required my staff to collaborate to develop a marketing strategy to increase visitors during a slow season. I believed it legitimate to believe that the team's aim and success would be sufficient to motivate each team member to completely commit and execute flawlessly. But I realized there was more to the motivation. My team members were equally enthusiastic in leveraging collaborative possibilities to improve functional skills that they had identified as critical, such as data analysis, written communication, and cross-team networking.

Teams are made up of people, and people have distinct ambitions even when working on group initiatives. This is not to say that individuals come to the team table with ulterior goals to undermine the group's mission or steal the show. However, it does show people's inherent need to pursue personal progress, even while working alongside others. 

Understanding this allows a leader to better cooperate with his or her team and assist the group achieve its individual and communal goals.

4. Understand Each Team Member’s Strengths

Leaders may improve cooperation within their teams by understanding and leveraging each team member's capabilities. This corresponds to leaders assisting their teammates in participating in initiatives that are a good fit for their strengths.

When I required my team to cooperate on developing a marketing strategy for targeting delivery consumers, I knew who was interested in and skilled at research, strategic thinking, written communication, and vocal feedback. Knowing this allowed me to facilitate team collaboration so that everyone could participate and shine. It also helped us create roles and duties as our project developed. 

It is also critical for each team member to understand their own capabilities and recognize the strengths of others so that the team can better connect with one another.

If you're not sure what your colleagues' strengths are, start by asking them. Alternatively, you might reflect on their previous performance and identify areas where they performed successfully. Many executives depend on the findings of workstyle evaluations to better understand their team members' capabilities. Whatever strategy you use, you'll discover that understanding your team's strengths is a critical step toward productive cooperation in which team members feel appreciated and encouraged.

Final Thoughts

Team cooperation isn't always simple, but as a leader, you can improve your team's effectiveness. That typically means making an effort to grasp your team's perspectives, strengths, and incentives for collaboration. 

Teams are made up of individuals, and it is critical to understand how they see teamwork. Past experiences may have affected their current attitudes about teamwork, which might have an impact on future outcomes. Collaborating with a team is also more productive when everyone is aware of each team member's talents and motivations. Knowing this can help the team communicate and collaborate more effectively.

But, before you put in enormous effort to understand your team, you must first understand your role on the team. Leaders play an important role in setting goals for team members to achieve and defining success. When working with your team, remember that you play a crucial part in creating a team atmosphere in which everyone feels secure and encouraged in offering their thoughts.

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