How to Create a More Collaborative Project Team

Collaboration begins with the project manager’s approach

Some project teams are run in a very top-down, hierarchical fashion. The team leader assigns tasks to team members, they complete the tasks, and the project is done. On the other hand, collaborative teams work together to make decisions about tasks and complete them. Is the hierarchical method really a team? Many project management experts would say no. A true team works together and collaborates about every aspect of a project.

Here are some tips on how to foster effective teamwork to improve your team and streamline project delivery.

Fostering teamwork in project management can be challenging for the best project managers, who understand that no matter how much the team collaborates, their superiors will be looking to them if the project runs into problems or isn’t successful. It is sometimes scary to put your reputation as a project manager in the hands of your team. What if they make bad decisions? What if the whole project goes down the drain because of it?

How to foster effective teamwork
Collaboration is modeled by the project manager when all ideas are valued and considered.

Building Trust on Your Team

It’s important to remember, however, that collaboration ends up being more successful than other project management methods. You have to trust the process and let it work. The first step is to build trust between your team members, including between you and the team. When you encourage everyone to contribute ideas, it will build trust if you are kind and accepting even if you don’t agree with what is offered.

Sometimes team members put themselves out there with an unusual idea, just to get shot down by the team leader or fellow team members. When you show that you value everyone’s ideas and work to implement them whenever you can, your team members will open up more, and you will get better ideas as a result.

When conflicts and criticism happen within the team, you can address them without coming down on anyone harshly, which will only erode trust. Over time, your team will begin to be more accepting and will learn to value everyone’s contributions.

How to foster effective teamwork
Effective teamwork means an all-hands-on-deck approach to challenging projects.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

Having a communication portal for the team may enhance collaboration by making it more convenient and less tense. People are more likely to submit their ideas to the portal because it feels less stressful and they don’t have to fear an in-person negative reaction, particularly those who are introverts.

As the project manager and team leader, you should reward your team members for collaborative efforts. At the beginning of the team’s association, even unsuccessful attempts to collaborate can be rewarded to encourage the team to keep trying until it finds success. Rewards can be tailored to each team’s makeup—a special event in the office won’t work for a team where many of the members work remotely, for example.

Collaboration can be fun if you approach it in the right way. Some fun teambuilding activities can increase the trust within your team and make it more productive overall. Teambuilding is not a waste of time; it can boost collaboration by helping everyone get to know each other better.

Florida Tech offers a project management degree program that teaches leadership skills and all aspects of project management, including collaboration techniques and the role of technology in project management. Learn more about our project management degree program today!

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