Guided Learning: Collaboration

Content & How to use

A good team atmosphere can improve people's teamworking skills and lead to better team results. The essence of teamwork is to work with others in a fun and pleasant manner. This topic guide starts with an exercise to assess how good your teamworking skills currently are. In the video that follows, an explanation is given for why it is useful to work with different people from different disciplines and how you can successfully manage to do so. In a final article, the essence of effective teamwork shows you how to get your team started.

1. Teamworking

First of all, it might be easy to get a starting point. Where are you now regarding teamwork and what can be improved? It is, therefore, a smart idea to look at the Skillslab video of collaboration skills. The amount of right and wrong answers will give you an idea of where you stand. You can click here to see the video.

2. Effective teamwork and collaboration

In some cases, working in a team means working with people from other disciplines. To benefit from this sort of teamwork, it is important to be aware of the use of interdisciplinary work. 

Interdisciplinary teamwork is collaboration between disciplines. This is being used to achieve innovative solutions during the creation process. This process consists out of 4 stages; research, concept, evaluation and implementation. Research is focused on growing knowledge. Furthermore, concept is focused on coming up with creative ideas. After this, evaluation applies convergent thinking to define the feasibility of the ideas that were generated in the concept fase. Finally, implementation is directed towards taking action. During this process, innovation is born. Therefore a good collaboration is needed. 

Four stages

This video explains what interdisciplinary thinking is and how it can contribute to teamwork.

3. Importance of Collaboration

People tend to work on their own piece of work, but if these pieces don't match, the work is simply a waste of time. But if everybody works on the same, it is also a waste of time. The movie above describes with which steps your collaboration becomes successful, so you do not waste your time anymore. One of the most valuable tips is to be open-minded when working in a multi-disciplinary team. You are working with people from very different perspectives and therefore conflicts may arise more often. 

4. Tips for effective teamwork

If you want to become a valuable team member, you should cover the following ten qualities; Demonstrate reliability, communicate constructivelylisten actively, function as an active participant, share openly and willingly, cooperate and pitch in to help, exhibit flexibility, show commitment to the team, work as a problem solver and treat others in an respectful manner.

Communicate constructively
Teamwork requires you to express thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly and with respect to others. One way of doing this is by being assertive. You should not be afraid of making a point, but do it in the best way possible.

Function as an active participant
This means that you come prepared to team meeting and listen and speak up in discussions. These people function as active participants and take the initiative to help make things happen. They think in how they can help the team and think in terms of outcomes of the team as a whole.

Exhibits flexibility
Each project or assignment involves changing conditions. Be a good team player and adapt to the changing situation. Do this by considering different points of view, don't get into a negative spiral when change occurs. 

Hopefully these tips will help you in developing yourself as a team player. 

Now that you are aware of your role and contribution to a team, and also how to work with people from different backgrounds, it is worthwhile to read this page. It repeats and summarizes the characteristics that an effective team should have and explains how to get started with your team. Moreover, it provides information on how to optimize your team atmosphere. Read the article here.