Multidisciplinary Collaboration in Work: Meaning & Tips to Build
You've probably come across the term "multidisciplinary collaboration" a few times during their lifetime. Of course, this concept is prominently used in the healthcare industry, but it can be extremely useful for organizations with different goals as well.
This article has to do with communication skills in management. We’ll discuss multiple ways in which your company can start building a multidisciplinary team with efficient levels of collaboration. We advise you to keep in mind that these should be long-term goals, as every step takes practice to complete.
Multidisciplinary Collaboration Meaning
Multidisciplinary teamwork consists in having professionals in different areas within the same group. It sounds complicated to achieve, but it is one of the many reasons why teamwork is important in the workplace.
There are tons of team communication tools in the modern era, especially now that most of us are working remotely. However, "communication" does not equal "teamwork." So what can we do to promote collaboration with multidisciplinary teams?
Tips for Better Multidisciplinary Team Collaboration
When you put together people with different backgrounds and diverse skills, things may not go as expected. Effective team collaboration is achieved through effort and respectful communication. Unfortunately, it is one of the hardest things to achieve if you're planning to promote cultural diversity in the workplace to attract talented individuals with different empirical backgrounds.
1. Acknowledge that not everyone is working towards the same goals.
Believing that everyone at the workplace is working to achieve the same goals can be counterproductive. If you promote these ideas, it can lead to bigger issues, like groupthink. Suppose you want to achieve successful multidisciplinary collaboration. In that case, the first step is to recognize that every individual is dissimilar and that their roles contribute differently to the success of the company.
When you're in a multidisciplinary team, it's essential for you to understand that every person has diverse qualifications and work methods. In addition, every person should know their role within the team while appreciating how others contribute to the team as well. Otherwise, the team can unravel in an unhealthy “them and us” culture.
2. Promote open-mindedness.
It’s crucial in multidisciplinary teams to take some time to listen to your teammates’ ideas while also being respectful of them. Again, respectful communication is one of the key elements to achieve when it comes to working with people with diverse qualifications and backgrounds.
Every member of the team should be open to feedback and hearing other people’s ideas. This way, the rest of the group will be confident enough to share their comments with their teammates regardless of the situation.
During meetings, all teammates should have the opportunity to speak while the rest listen to them. These practices can help you grow as a person and professional while simultaneously taking the team to higher grounds.
3. Avoid power dynamics.
Power dynamics are one of the biggest problems in today's world, and the work industry is one of the many that suffer from this issue. It isn't something that happens from higher positions to lower roles; it can also happen within a team where everyone is supposed to be equal.
Whenever you are in a multidisciplinary team, it can be complicated to delegate a leader, and, in some instances, some people may automatically take that role. This can lead to certain members feeling marginalized, while others may "battle" for control.
It's crucial for everyone to remember that this is a team environment. Thus, everyone is equal, and even though it is necessary to follow a leader sometimes, a specific individual cannot take control of the whole team all the time.
4. Choose the right resources.
As of now, most workplaces are working remotely. However, even if we are miles apart from each other, we can keep our teams together if we start by choosing the right technological solution.
You can find tons of team communication tools around the internet. Some of them are for free but lack meaningful tools, while others come in different shapes but are only accessible via a paid membership.
Try to choose a tool that’s accessible for everyone. Take some time to understand how this software works, and give some time to your teammates to understand its functioning as well.
5. Other people’s time is valuable too.
Everyone has different responsibilities outside the workplace. Many individuals feel like they lack time to complete all the projects they have in mind. Hence, it is essential for every member of the team to attend meetings in time and with enough preparation, for instance. All meetings should be efficient and productive. Otherwise, people will feel like they’re losing their time.
6. Leave the buzzwords outside your language.
It is common for people within a specific industry to use certain words to refer to certain concepts. Although there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with that, it can leave other members of the team confused. Also, remember that you're working with people that don't share your same area of expertise or background. Thus, try to keep your expressions accessible for everyone and explain yourself in case you need to use complicated phrases or words to express an idea.
7. Build a community.
Forming a sense of community within the workplace is one of the best practices if you'd like to promote multidisciplinary collaboration. According to a study, those with established relationships find it easier to collaborate with their teammates. In contrast, new additions to the team may find it extremely complicated.
Try to make activities where each employee can approach people from different departments – not only those that belong to the team.
Multidisciplinary collaboration takes time to achieve, but it’s not impossible. It is one of the best practices you can use to achieve long-term and short-term goals, as people with different backgrounds will analyze the same situation from diverse points of view.
Of course, there are more ways to promote teamwork within a team with people with diverse skillsets. However, everything starts with the right resources and with good communication. Moving on, it will be easier for you to incorporate new tools and practices that allow you to expand the team’s horizons
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