The Most Important Coordination Skills (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Mar. 16, 2021

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Coordination skills are important to keeping a workplace running smoothly, and those with excellent coordination skills can make all the difference, especially when working on a large project, or a project involving multiple departments.

Good coordinators help prevent miscommunications, disorganization, and confusion, and without them, many projects would be more difficult, if not impossible, to complete well and on time.

That being said, if an employee can demonstrate good coordination skills, they can show their boss that they are ready for a promotion and that they have excellent management potential.

What Are Coordination Skills?

Your coordination skill is your ability to see many moving pieces and make a plan for all the pieces to come together. Good coordinators see the big picture before it is formed and find ways to realize it. Coordination skills are used in nearly every position, not just by project managers and supervisors.

Having good coordination skills means that you are a more productive employee, able to do quality work as fast as possible, minimizing hiccups and setbacks. You can take the work of many people and transform it into one cohesive deliverable.

Because of this, coordination skills are especially sought after by supervisors and employers, as those with coordination skills make it easier for a big group to work together, especially when completing a large-scale task. Coordination is one of the many skills employers look for when trying to decide who gets more responsibility.

These are also skills you should highlight on your resume, (especially if you’re using a skill-based resume) because these skills can help portray you as someone ready for a management position or someone who has the potential to become a good team leader.

There are five coordination skills, in particular, that make it easier to be an effective worker:

  1. Time management. While it’s important to have time management skills as an individual, a leader needs to manage the time of several team members, not just themselves.

    A good leader and coordinator is someone who is aware of deadlines and enforces them. They know how long it will take their team members to complete a task, and they can encourage them to do quality work within an appropriate time frame.

  2. Communication. Communication is key to coordination. Many times, a leader of a project can serve as the go-between for different departments, meaning they need to be able to properly communicate so information does not get lost or misconstrued, like in a game of telephone.

    Leaders also need to be good communicators on an individual level, as communicating with their team is necessary to learn what they may need to complete a task, or how much of a task they have completed already.

    Communication, in general, helps you stay more in touch with your team members and helps you become aware of potential problems that need solving. How you communicate is a good indicator of how you interact with others. It’s necessary to refine this skill, especially as it can be used at any level, in any position.

  3. Adaptability. A good coordinator is adaptable, as problems and obstacles are bound to arise, especially when working in larger groups of people. Being able to adapt to these issues allows the coordinator to continue progress on the project, rather than letting the obstacles hinder you.

    Being able to overcome obstacles may require some creative thinking, but finding a solution means that a problem can be avoided, saving everyone time, but also you may just stumble upon a more effective way to do a task so the problem can be avoided altogether.

    Identifying the problem is only the first step, however, and a good leader will be able to both adjust their plan and coordinate a response to the problem. They will be able to explain the situation to their team members and motivate them to launch a response to the problem as quickly as possible.

    They will be able to shift everyone into gear and get them focused on the new task at hand.

    Having good coordination skills means being adaptable, so you can be just as productive, no matter what the world throws at you. Being able to show this on your resume or to your boss could make you stand out as a particularly effective employee.

  4. Organization. Being organized is essential to being an effective leader and to coordinating big projects. In any project, there will be several moving pieces that need to be kept track of, and being organized keeps all those pieces from becoming overwhelming. The organization helps our brains make sense of the chaos.

    Furthermore, being organized ensures that information is disseminated in the most efficient way possible, so nothing gets lost in the shuffle, and everyone remains in the loop.

    This can easily decrease the likelihood of confusion and miscommunication developing between team members. The organization makes questions easy to answer and information easier to find.

  5. Teamwork. This one may seem straightforward, but being able to work in a team is essential for coordinating that team. Leaders who are skilled in teamwork can properly delegate work to their team members, ensuring that no one has too much or too little to do.

    Also, a leader who focuses on teamwork is a leader who can easily motivate their team to provide their best work. Instead of being a boss who gives orders, they demonstrate that they are just as much a part of the team and that they genuinely care about the progress of their team members.

    Teamwork allows a leader to feel more connected to their team and encourages the growth of a ‘work together environment,’ leading to increased productivity and a happier work life.

How to Develop Coordination Skills

While it may seem that some are simply born more equipped to be good coordinators, everyone can take tangible steps to improve their coordination skills. No matter if you’re struggling with coordination or it comes easily to you, here are a few tools to further develop your skills:

  • Keep a planner. This is a step you can easily take to improve your workplace coordination. Keep your planner up-to-date and refer to it often. Having a planner allows you to keep track of upcoming deadlines, but it can also help you manage both the work you need to do, as well as the work you’re expecting from others.

    A planner can be used to keep track of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, as well, so you never miss another deadline, and you’re able to get a visual representation of the time you have on your hands.

  • Productivity tools. Nowadays, there are several free tools online that you can use to help keep track of your team member’s progress. Project management tools allow you to assign tasks to your team members, give them a due date, and remind them of upcoming responsibilities.

    It also allows for your team members to give you live updates on their progress, how long they’ve worked on a task, and when they have completed a task.

    Many types of productivity software exist, so play around and find the one that is right for you. If you can’t find one that speaks to you and your needs, you always have the option to create an Excel spreadsheet, where several project management templates allow you to track team members’ progress or how long they have worked on a specific task.

  • Take notes. Studies have shown that the brain learns information and retains it better when we take the time to write it out by hand. Keeping a to-do list is a great way to make sure no task gets forgotten.

    For example, “send email to John about sales report,” takes only a few seconds to write down, but it ensures that it does not get lost in your subconscious when something else comes up and grabs your attention.

    In short, if you write it down, you’re less likely to forget it. A to-do list also helps you keep track of what needs to be done, but it also allows you to see all the work you have already crossed off the list. Adding a little checkmark to that box can help you realize your productivity.

  • Ask questions. This goes for both team members and team leaders. Making sure you understand the task in front of you means that you will get it done properly the first time, saving you extra work and effort.

    If you’re a team leader, asking questions can be beneficial, as it allows you to understand the situation better. Asking what your team members may need from you or others, as well as asking how you can help them will set you up to succeed as a leader, and makes work easier for those you’re leading.

Final Thoughts

Coordination skills are skills that you will use every day, no matter the position you have. Improving your coordination skills, however, is what could set you apart from your colleagues and make you a more favorable option for a promotion or a raise.

Being able to coordinate shows your supervisor that you can take on large amounts of responsibility, without sacrificing productivity or dependability.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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