A collaborative team works together to co-create something new that aligns with a shared vision of all of its members.
The first step is to decide how you will work together and to capture these understandings in a Team Agreement. Creating an agreement as a team is best accomplished by team discussion, and may involve negotiation.
To be a collaborative team you will need to create and practice patterns for inclusive communication, effective information sharing and participatory team decision-making. Consider following a structure: SUIT - Share, Understand, Integrate, Team Decision.
In collaborative high-performing teams, there is shared leadership as opposed to directive or hierarchical leadership driven by one or two team members. While you may decide to have a project co-ordinator, there is no appointed or self-selected "team leader" but rather a group of people taking joint responsibility for leading the team towards their goals. If you want to leverage a personal strength, or learn how to do a particular team task, you can take the lead on it. Similarly, another team member may want to do the same for another task. Thus, shared leadership becomes a flow of stepping in and back from leadership depending on the given task.
Holding Effective and Efficient Team Meetings is the Key to Successful Collaboration
One key leadership role that you can and should share amongst your team is the leadership role of facilitator. It is highly recommended that you rotate the role of facilitator regularly, ideally from one meeting to the next.
Because you will need to meet with your teams regularly, and your time is precious, it is essential to be efficient, effective and productive. Consider three areas of focus for Effective Team Meetings: Preparation, Conduct and Follow-up.
Collaboration Involves a Growth Mindset
Collaboration is dynamic. Teams change and evolve over time. Ongoing team collaboration is most effective when it includes reflective processes of reflecting, debriefing, giving and receiving feedback, and supporting each other's growth by sharing feedforward. When a team engages in collaborative growth cycles, so much more can be gained!
You will experience more than one team throughout your program - likely several! Wouldn't it be great to build each team to be even more effective than the last? When you are finishing your journey with one team, and starting with another, take time to reflect on what you have gained. Transitioning to a new team is most effective when the lessons learned are applied to your new team. Invest time in creating strong foundations for your new team. This includes taking time to share the wisdom from your past team experiences, getting know each other's styles and preferences, and developing a strong Team Agreement.