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The Importance of Collaboration in the Workplace

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Dom graham

Published on 10th October 20195 mins read

Collaboration is key to business success. Our workforces are more varied than ever with different working hours and locations. To get the job done, employees need to work across multiple teams, departments, and offices. And, that is no mean feat. Teams can function beautifully, or varying personalities can rub each other up the wrong way. 

While collaboration needs cooperation from every team member, it’s more than that. Collaboration requires a shared vision, mutual respect, and an understanding of what each team member brings to the table. When people genuinely collaborate, everyone is more productive and motivated, and the business dramatically benefits as a result. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Collaboration

Ultimately, collaboration only offers business benefits when it is done well. Collaboration needs to be appropriately implemented and managed to maximize those benefits.

The advantages of working in a team include:

  • Better division of labor – splitting work into smaller, more manageable tasks with shared responsibility.
  • Improved decision making – considering all stakeholder needs and viewpoints from various professional and technical backgrounds. 
  • Greater creative input – more ideas and approaches are brought to the table, encouraging brainstorming. 
  • Increased employee morale – celebrating successes together helps individuals to have a more positive view of both their jobs and the people they work with. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out like that. The disadvantages of collaboration include:

  • Too many leaders – if too many people want to take the lead, and few want to follow, productivity is negatively affected.
  • Conflicting working styles – if everyone insists on their way of getting things done, conflicts can arise and create delays to progress.
  • Impact of strong personalities – if personalities are too strong, they can overshadow the others and persuade them to their way of thinking. 
  • Increased meetings – if meetings aren’t managed well, they can go off topic and reduce efficiency. 

How To Foster Effective Teamwork

The key to effective collaboration is building teams that work together efficiently. Together people can accomplish more by leveraging their multiple strengths in a supportive environment. The advantages are clear, but it takes effort to realize. 

To make sure collaboration is successful, teams should consider:

  • Creating shared goals – ensure everyone is on the same page and knows what they need to do to help the business achieve. 
  • Encouraging communication – timelines, and goals should be shared between departments and teams should fully understand each other’s roles
  • Leading by example – leaders should share with the team, even when it comes to failures, they should also show empathy and understanding.
  • Welcoming feedback – individuals should feel able to step outside of their comfort zone, give feedback, and trust that it will be listened to. 
  • Sharing information – having the systems in place to share data across teams seamlessly is a vital piece of the puzzle for effective collaboration.

How To Deal With Different Personality Types

In every business and every team, there will be many different personalities. When personalities clash, it can lead to inevitable disagreements. We must learn to work together, with everyone, if we are to avoid slowing projects down, draining enthusiasm, and damaging relationships. 

Everyone encounters challenging personalities from time to time. The difference is learning how to approach them:

  • Remember you are all on the same team
  • Don’t take everything personally
  • Learn to handle egos 
  • Keep gossip positive

Taking a non-judgemental attitude and considering our reactions to situations as they arise can make all the difference.

How to Delegate Effectively

If employees have an unbalanced workload, productivity will decrease, and tensions will rise. Delegation is necessary to get the job done and to help a business achieve its goals. However, it’s not a case of just offloading work on someone else, delegating shows that you trust them and value their abilities. 

There are a few vital steps to delegating work:

  • Explain the context of why you’re delegating that responsibility
  • Provide the right instructions, resources, and training to get the job done
  • Delegate responsibility and authority, so the person feels empowered
  • Say thank you and show genuine appreciation

When done well, delegating can increase trust and commitment within the workplace. Moreover, making sure the right people are performing the tasks that are most suited to them increases productivity. 

Interdepartmental collaboration is a vital part of the way almost every business works. Commitment, culture, and work need to be a shared responsibility, with everyone working towards a common goal. While collaborating can result in conflicts, when done right, it maximizes resources and delivers outstanding results.