7 tips for better multidisciplinary collaboration

by Mike Sharkey

Multidisciplinary collaboration

From the biggest cross-discipline transformation teams to the digital project team of three – employees from different disciplines need to collaborate to achieve common goals. What can help smooth and improve the process?

When you bring together a diverse group of individuals with different skills, attitudes and ways of doing things, it won’t be a surprise that things don’t always run like clockwork. But you can’t underestimate the importance of teamwork and effective team collaboration – it’s vital to the success of any organization.

Here are some tips to help you build collaborative multidisciplinary teams.

Understand who does what and why

Members of a multidisciplinary team will have different qualifications, training, and methods of working. This can create a ‘them and us’ culture, which isn’t good for team spirit. It’s not only vital that everyone has a good understanding of their own role, but that they appreciate what others do too. Better understanding between team members goes a long way to ease any tensions that might have crept into your workplace.

Learn from each other

Having a team made up of people with different skills and ideas is a huge opportunity for all employees to broaden their knowledge.

When your teams are collaborating, they’re continually learning new things from each other. Using tools like Workplace can help teams bounce ideas off each other through virtual brainstorming sessions in project groups. Or enable them to give instant feedback to suggestions which can help foster creativity and aid personal growth.

Respect other points of view

Bringing together people with different backgrounds and skills can cause conflict and personality clashes.

There may also be a tendency to look down on certain roles within the group. Teams should recognize that one goal of team collaboration is enabling every member to bring different viewpoints and skills to help achieve common goals. Encourage your team to celebrate differences and not dismiss them.

Prevent power struggles

It’s often difficult to know who has the most authority in multidisciplinary teams. Certain team members may have more status than others. Some may compete for control and egos may get in the way at team meetings. Others can feel marginalized if they don’t feel the team hold their discipline on an equal footing. In a team environment, no one individual is always the boss. Leaders have to learn to follow.

Cut the confusing jargon

Workers often use jargon and buzzwords that become second nature to them.

But phrases that might be clearly understood by certain groups within the team may be completely baffling for others. So make sure your teams cut the jargon and use simple language. The same goes for any technical aspects of the project that may need explaining.

Build a community within the workplace

Forging strong relationships at work can aid collaboration significantly. Create opportunities for your teams to bond. This could involve anything from online team building exercises to a communal games area or regular staff nights out.

Use the right communication tools

There are so many great online collaboration tools available that can help bring teams together. Instant messaging services are raising the standard. Studies show that adoption of these tools helps increase team collaboration by 49% and productivity by 45%.

Business platforms that include an instant messaging service can help you connect everyone in the team wherever they are. This keeps people in the loop and helps build and maintain team cohesion for the lifetime of the project and beyond.

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