Definition:  Cooperating and working effectively with others in the pursuit of common goals. 


 6 Tips for Building a Collaborative Team 

  1. Have a Common Purpose and Goal: Create and/or review the team's mission and purpose. Discuss why the team exists. Allow each team member to express commitment. 

  1. Trust Each Other: Be honest. Work to eliminate conflicts of interests. Avoid talking behind each other's back. 

  1. Clarify Roles:  Relate team member expectations to the team's overall purpose. Clarify responsibilities when action planning. Learn what others do on the team. Figure out ways to help each other. 

  1. Communicate Openly and Effectively:  Seek to understand all angles. Take responsibility for being heard and understood. Work to clear up misunderstandings quickly and accurately. Reinforce and recognize team member efforts. 

  1. Appreciate Diversity: Remember that reasonable people can and do differ with each other. Try to learn as much as you can from others. Evaluate a new idea based on its merits. 

  1. Balance the Teams Focus: Hold team celebrations for achieving results. Praise individual effort. Design individual performance goals that emphasize both results and teamwork. 

Adapted from 

Self-Directed Learning Activities 

Relevant Readings:


  • Bushe, G. (2011). Clear leadership: Sustaining real collaboration and partnership at work. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. 

  • Cain, J., & Jolliff, B. (1998). Teamwork & Teamplay: A Guide to Cooperative, Challenge and Adventure Activities That Build Confidence, Cooperation, Teamwork, Creativity, Trust, Decision Making, Conflict Resolution, Resource Management, Communication, Effective Feedback and Problem Solving Skills.  Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque. 

  • Frisch, B, (2011). Harvard business review on building better teams. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. 

  • Maxwell, J. C. (2013). The 17 indisputable laws of teamwork: Embrace them and empower your team. Thomas Nelson Inc. (LINK ABSTRACT PDF) 

  • Parker, G. M. (2008). Team players and teamwork: New strategies for developing successful collaboration. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons. (LINK PDF) 

  •  Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (2005). The discipline of teams. Harvard Business Review, 83(7), 162. 


Self-Guided Activities:

  • Spontaneously offer to help someone, even if you are busy. Pay extra attention to assisting new team members.  

  • Help other team members improve their understanding and collaboration with one another. Share information about work being done and processes and procedures that need to be followed.  

  • To promote teamwork among groups, try to discourage “us versus them” thinking. Keep an eye out for “us versus them” thinking and discussions. Check yourself and caution others when they talk in those terms. Remind them of the larger organizational objectives. 

Guided Learning Activities 


  • Learn about your collaboration skills. Gather feedback from others on your collaboration styles and tactics, and periodically evaluate your performance based on the feedback. Formulate developmental plans with your supervisor based on the feedback you receive. 

  • Suggest mini-retreats for your team. These can be as long as an entire weekend, or a short as a trip to lunch. These can help build team spirit and commitment and enable all team members to get to know one another personally.  

  • Work with your supervisor to identify an opportunity for you to lead a team within your department. Follow the steps outlined above to build collaboration among the team members and document your experiences in a learning journal. Set up touch base meetings with supervisor to discuss your team’s progress.  

  • If possible, try to talk to each of your team members about their goals and responsibilities. Shadow them and ask them if they need help if you have time. This will allow you to observe and understand how each team member contributes to the goals of the team. 

Formal Training/Education 

School and Course Module(s):

  • Northwest College:  CO/M 2015 - Leadership Skills 

  • This course is designed to educate specified groups in effective leadership skills. Includes discussion and practice in teamwork, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, planning, conflict management, and social responsibility. 

  • Eastern Wyoming College: MGT 1000 Introduction to Supervision  

  • This course seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic concepts of supervision, to include planning, organizing, human resources management, directing, and controlling. Topics covered also include motivation, delegation, leadership, communications, team-building, total quality management, and discipline. 

Other Trainings: