Published on March 25, 2021

How To Improve Your Collaborative Skills In the Workplace

How To Improve Your Collaborative Skills In the Workplace

One of the most significant factors that contribute to any team’s success is its ability to collaborate. Yet, collaborating isn’t always easy. The ability to collaborate is an acquired skill. Working as a cohesive team doesn’t come naturally. We have to work at growing together. We have to develop a flow in which our time, talent, personalities, and skills all come together to accomplish a goal.

How to improve your collaboration skills should be the focus of your professional growth. When we focus on growing in our ability to collaborate, we succeed in achieving our goals. The ability to accomplish our goals is solely dependent on our ability to overcome our hang-ups, egos, and challenges long enough to become a cohesive team. The success of the organization happens when we decide to develop collaborative skills.

As we dive into our understanding of how to improve our collaborative skills in the workplace, it is essential to note a difference between teamwork and collaboration. Even though it may seem as if collaborative communities and teams are the same, they are not.

Both teamwork and collaboration involve an assortment of people working together to complete a shared goal. However, there is a critical difference between collaboration and teamwork. Teamwork combines all team members’ individual efforts to achieve a goal. On the other hand, collaboration happens when people are working together to complete a project collectively. Collaborative teams have no leader and little hierarchical structure. They pool their thoughts and talents together to accomplish the goal. A team is a collective of people, who have a leader, a structure, and delegated individual tasks to complete to contribute towards the team’s end goal.

The main differences between the two are that one focuses on developing leads while the other focuses on developing employees. When we develop leaders, we all win. When we create employees, we limit our growth potential. The bottom line is that if you want to grow your organization, focus on team development. If you’re going to multiply your organization, focus on building a collaborative community. Teams work while leaders collaborate. Both are important and bring value, but shifting your focus to building collaborative skills is a declaration that you desire to develop leaders. Especially if your team is now working virtually.

With that said, what are the primary skills that each collaborative community must develop to succeed?


Primary Collaborative Skills To Develop

There can be several collaborative skills we can develop:

  • Communication
  • Group brainstorming
  • Emotional Fitness
  • Problem-solving
  • Setting Priorities
  • Transformative Thinking
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Debate

As in-exhaustive as this list could be, the above provides several must-have collaborative skills in your organization’s operation. They are non-negotiable values. Improving your collaborative skills are not optional. We must lead ways to improve our collaborative skills within the workplace or run the risk of becoming ineffective.

Regardless of the collaborative values, there is one thing for sure. You have to improve your collaboration skills. What you don’t grow will die. Success will be unattainable if your collaborative community fails.

How To Improve Your Collaboration Skills in the Workplace

1. Deeper Your Trust

Trust is given, not earned.

You may have heard the reverse of that. The statement has traditionally been, “trust is earned and not given.” This is the worst advice you can carry. It carries with it a strong distrust in people.

You can never empower someone you do not trust. Trust needs to be given, not earned. Allow the team to lose it. I know this feels backward and counterintuitive. The question we have to ask ourselves continually is if we want to remain safe or grow. Growth takes risks. Risks are demonstrated in your ability to give away part of your authority to your team. As I mentioned, if you can’t trust your team, you won’t delegate authority. Thus, you will not accomplish the goals you set out to do.


As a community of professionals, continuously build the collaborative skill of trust. Deepen your understanding of one another. Show your team you genuinely care about them. Make sure they know that you value what they bring to the team. Help them understand that they are not just tools to complete a mission but a collective of individuals who are building something great.

When trust is built, expanded, and deepened, the team moves to a new productivity level.

2. Improve Your Self-Awareness

Understand your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your hang-ups are imperative to growing your collaborative skills. Most teams’ struggle is that instead of being a collaborative community, they are a collective of individuals. Being a collective of individuals would be ok if you worked in a team and not a collaborative community.

The key to building your skills within a collaborative community is found in the level of your self-awareness. Most people are only self-aware enough to get the job done. This is the lowest level of self-awareness. At this level, there is no creativity, no connection to the real you, and minimal emphasis on leadership or leadership development.

Improving your self-awareness helps you understand who you are. Also, it helps you know how you properly fit into the community. The greater understanding I possess of myself (personality, strengths, weaknesses, and hang-ups), the more useful I can be within the community.

If we do not have a high level, or growing level, of self-awareness, then being an effective member of the collaborative community will escape you. Working towards building your collaborative skills within the workplace will take time and effort. Using tools like personality tests, strength finders, and mentors can help you speed up the process.


3. Embrace Change

Change is the only constant within the workplace. Instead of fearing change, make it your competitive advantage. Allow change to fuel you instead of draining you. It would be best to shift your thinking from someone who reacts to change to someone who initiates change.

Those who can embrace change are those that can adapt to anything within the workplace. Stress is an occupational hazard within high-performing teams and collaborative communities. Embracing change is imperative if you are going to grow in your collaborative skills.

Embracing change means I am learning how to operate with flexibility and adaptability. What people miss is that working in a collaborative community requires a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. If we fail to learn how to embrace change, we will fail to develop the collaborative skills needed to contribute to a highly successful community.

Embracing change requires both trust and self-awareness. You will have to learn to trust your instincts and wisdom. There will be times when you have to trust the collective instincts and insights of your community. You will need to know how you respond to stress and what you can do about it. It is within this place of convergence that true collaboration can be born. A place where you each trust one another, adapt to change, learn one another, and work together towards a joint mission.

Learn How To Embrace Change In Life (Even If It’s Hard to Change).

What Happens If You Don’t Improve Your Collaboration Skills

After seeing how to improve your collaborative skills, you start to wonder what would happen if you don’t improve.


Here are just a few situations:

Failed Projects

The inability to collaborate creates a failure to complete tasks. The possibility of unfinished or faith projects exponentially increases.

Unmet Targets

Aiming at a target does not guarantee that you will hit it. The purpose of a collaborative community is that they complete the tasks they are given. A team that isn’t improving their collaborative skills tends to miss the mark on their targets.

Unhappy and Unproductive Teams

Finally, if a collaborative community can’t address its collaboration roadblocks, teams may become disgruntled and lead towards ineffectiveness. An unhappy team is an unproductive team, especially when they aren’t sure what they’re working towards. Improving your collaborative skills gives you the advantage because it creates high morale within the group.

Bottom Line

If you are going to create success, then you will want to improve your collaborative skills. Simple changes over time create massive success. Don’t be the person who allows your team to fail because you failed to focus on improving your collaborative skills.

Don’t wait until you are ready. Start today and build the collaborative skills needed to create the success you have been envisioning. Remember that mission completion is a team effort. You need to develop your collaborative skills because you can’t do this alone.


More Essential Work Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ via

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Jim Burgoon

Founder of The Everyday Leader

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Last Updated on May 23, 2021

10 Best Free Job Apps You Need For Effective Job Hunting

10 Best Free Job Apps You Need For Effective Job Hunting

Seeking for the right job but not sure how to do it in a more effective way?

Try job search apps!

To make the job hunting process easier, I’m recommending 10 best job apps that can help you look for the right match anywhere at any time. The best of all? They’re all free!

1. jobandtalent


    Great for browsing new jobs as you commute home via subway, bus or carpool, the jobandtalent app is like a Pinterest for job seekers.

    Easily browse, save and revisit job postings from your smartphone and receive notifications about jobs that match your professional qualifications.

    Download it for iOS and Android.


    2. Jobr


      This job hunting app is unique in that it lets you anonymously browse job listings based on your professional resume. If a company that you like also shows an interest in you, the app let’s you chat directly with a company rep. Great for getting your foot in the door and making a memorable impression.

      Download it for iOS.

      3. Monster Job Search

      monster job search

        I’m a big fan of Monster. It’s one of the first job sites employers think of when they want to list a new position online. The Monster Job Search app functions pretty similarly to the normal website, so it’s very easy to use for not-so-tech-savvy job hunters.

        Download it for iOS and Android.

        4. Jobs and Career Search


        job and career search

          This is a good, simple app for browsing global locations for your next job. With a job index of more than 50,000 jobs listed globally, this app is a good choice if you are moving to a new area and want to line a new job up quickly.

          Download it for iOS.

          5. Hyper Networking Groups

          hyper networking groups

            This job hunting app isn’t so much a job hunting app as it is a connections hunting app. It’s great for learning who’s who in your desired field and forming connections. It also shows you how you and your industry connections are connected via your social networks, so you can follow up with them on your other social sites.

            Download it for iOS.

            6. CardDrop


              CardDrop is an awesome job hunting app that let’s you digitally drop and pick up virtual business cards. This app is great for helping you make new connections at seminars, interviews, meetings and conferences. You can also attach social media profiles to the cards you pick up or send to enable easier connecting on social networks.


              Download it for Android and iOS.

              7. Job Interview Questions

              interview questions both

                Okay, so this app looks kind of outdated, but it’s super useful for getting you into the swing of answering any kind of interview question that is thrown your way. The big benefit of using this app is that it explains to you what your interviewers motivations might be for asking you a specific kind of question. Learn what your interviewer is looking for in your answers and be more prepared for the real interview when the time comes.

                Download it for Android.

                8. 101 Interview Questions and Answers

                101 both

                  This app is great because it provides guidance about the kinds of answers you should give for each kind of question. Think of it as an essay rubric but for job interview questions.

                  Download it for Android.


                  9. Job Interview Question-Answer

                  q and a

                    Feeling confident with your text-answered interview questions but concerned about doing the face-to-face interview? This app prepares you for interacting with your interviewer by simulating an employer asking you questions.

                    You can record your response and see what you look like to the interviewer to understand what movements, vocal pauses, etc. you need to work on.

                    Download this app for iOS and Android.

                    10. HireVue


                      HireVue is a great job hunting app for those times when your interviewer wants to get some preliminary questions out of the way.

                      When an interested employer wants to interview you, they send you a request via HireVue and you can answer it in your free time, when you’re ready. Your interview might consist of a some FaceTime, some multiple choice questions or open-ended text answers and can be completed and sent to the interviewer when you’re finish.


                      Download it for Android and iOS.

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