Managers are placing a new importance on searching for people who are able to think innovatively, work with others, and truly be a collaborative within the workplace. Companies are seeing the value that ideation sessions and groups working together derive from their collaborative meeting times. Even during the hiring process recruiting professionals are now focusing on group projects as far back as college days to gain a sense of the applicant’s ability to collaborate successfully.

In the days of cubicle work settings or remote work you may not have the extensive experience working with groups, but a little goes a long way when it comes to collaboration. About 75% of employers believe that teamwork and collaboration are “very important” so why not touch up on your skills. Below are five different ways people can succeed within a group setting by being intentional with your team.

1. Setting a Clear Goal

Many teams fail to set a clear goal for their time together. Besides the obvious goal of completing the project, teams need to set a clear goal that they want to achieve aside for each time they meet. Setting a specific goal for the team will give more of an incentive and motivation for the team to stay focused rather than let tangents run wild. Once setting your team’s goal, you can now start accessing each person in order to see who will excel in which tasks for the team to complete the overall goal. As each member of the team accepts their action items, this ownership will help increase the team’s quality of work.

2. Identify Each Member’s Weaknesses and Strengths

Now that the members of the team agree and have the goal in mind, the team can evaluate what are each member’s weaknesses and strengths are. Taking the time to assess each person’s abilities will be an asset in ensuring the tasks at hand are completed with the utmost care and diligence. One of the best ways to do evaluate a new team member’s abilities is to do a self-assessment like a SWOT analysis, or a simpler option is evaluating the person’s responses to the following questions:

  • What do I enjoy doing, and why I enjoy doing them?
  • What have others complimented me about?
  • Which projects and tasks seem to take out a lot of my energy?
  • Which projects have I spent dread completing?

Reviewing these questions and evaluating the person’s responses will enable the team to assign the right action items to the right people.

3. Gain a Sense Each Member’s Personality

In order to be successful, it is also best to get a sense every team members’ personality. This step is a crucial aspect to the group’s communication, since no team will be perfectly harmonious it is important to know who your leaders will be and who will be your followers. Ensuring each member’s voice is heard is important, most issues arise from the things that were left unsaid due to the dominant team member taking charge.

When working in a group there are four main personalities to look for, some people will already know which category they fall in, while others you may need to work a little harder for. The first personality trait is a driver. Drivers are very strong and extrovert personalities. They are normally very direct, know exactly what they want, and will do whatever it takes to get it done. They normally love a challenge and are willing to take risks. The few downfalls in this personality are they’re seen as very impatient, insensitive, dictatorial and dominant. The good thing is that they will keep the team afloat and organized when it comes close to deadlines. The next trait is an analytical trait. This trait is known to seek the right way to do things. Analytical students normally find the pros and cons to everything and love making tons of lists. They are always asking questions, trying to always find more information, and are constantly playing by the rules.

Their only downfall is the risk of over-analyzing every situation that can be harmful to the team, which may also delay any tasks. The third one is amiable. Students who are amiable are usually friendly, warm, laid-back and empathetic. They normally care more about others and usually want people to be happy. Their con is the lack of focus that may lose sight on the task that is being given and that may fail to complete on time. The last personality trait is expressive. Expressive students ordinarily are dynamic, passionate and energetic. They love to socialize and communicate with others; however, the downside is that they are normally not relied on. By identifying each trait, it will help each member learn how to accommodate other personalities when they are working in a group environment. It will also, HOPEFULLY, remind those with stronger personality traits to limit their downfalls and be more mindful of them.

4. Laying Ground Rules

Ideally you want your group to arrive all with positive attitudes and everyone be respectful to hearing new ideas, as well as, taking constructive criticism. Typically, however, that is not the case. To overcome some of the obstacles of group work it is always helpful to lay ground rules. Even as adults, sometimes we need to be reminded not to interrupt each other, to be respectful, to keep the lines of communication open, and to provide a no judgment zone for your group. When working in a group, it is best to create an open workspace to amplify each person’s imagination and overall productivity. Incorporating multiple personality styles can be a nightmare, but you know what is even more of a nightmare… have MORE THAN ONE DRIVER in a group… We’ve all been there I’m sure. Two or more people trying to take charge, constantly butting heads, sometimes so much so that they split the group either intentionally or unintentionally. Assigning a leader can help to overcome this common problem and give your team clearly defined roles.

5. Providing Proper Tools

Hopefully your meeting space has a way for your team to work together, but what happens when you leave the room? Does someone have the responsibility of sharing their notes so you can all be on the same page? Do you take photos of white boards? Are you all using a single shared text document with limited functionality?

Not having the proper tools can be a huge impact on the time it takes for a group to complete their project and the quality of their output. It is important to equip your team with the tools they need to succeed. That’s where Hoylu Connected Workspaces™ can be a true asset to your team. Our Sketch application offers a free-form workspace where entire teams can meet virtually, instead of gathering in a single location within the office teams can meet over their preferred vendor with voice and video, with a cohesive real-time digital workspace where they can work together. With integrations and the ability to import almost any file it is a perfect space to gather feedback, annotate, design, and truly collaborate with a team of any size.

The tools provided to teams can truly limit their ability to complete a project, especially if they may not be in the same location. Instead of a single person sharing their screen to ensure cohesion, Hoylu provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to follow along and share input.

Teamwork is a huge aspect of the modern workforce for companies of any size. Large companies need to work harder to prevent siloing within departments, and small teams need ways to work together that are cost effective and time-saving. Giving your team the added tools to increase their productivity and to reduce the stress of working in groups is important. Manager’s should never assume that groupthink and lazy co-works don’t exist just because you are “professionals”.