4 Common Problems Caused by Collaboration (and How to Fix Them)

“Collaboration” is a sizzling phrase within the industry international. Our instrument is collaborative. Our open workplace plans are designed to inspire communique and collaboration, for higher or worse. Even process commercials display a rising want for employees who’ve revel in taking part. Who does not need to be observed as a workforce participant? In the rush to grow to be extra collaborative, on the other hand, organizations might focal point at the possible advantages with out bearing in mind the dangers.

Experts and researchers in industry control have discovered that collaboration is not continually all it is cracked up to be. Here are four commonplace issues led to by collaborative paintings environments, adopted by tips for a way to right kind them and stay groups productive.

4 Common Problems in Collaborative Environments

There’s Less Time for Focused Work

The extra other folks collaborate, they much less time they’ve for particular person paintings. The toughest paintings that wisdom staff do of their jobs most often calls for intense focal point, and that during flip manner they in most cases do it on my own.

When we collaborate, whether or not by attending conferences, answering questions, sharing evaluations, or just swapping paintings backward and forward with different colleagues, we’d like to have interaction, and interactions are regularly disruptions to lengthy classes of intense focal point.

Teams End Up Lopsided

Within a collaborative atmosphere, other folks do not give a contribution frivolously. A find out about throughout 300 organizations confirmed that a handful of workers are disproportionately accountable for certain effects: “20 to 35 % of value-added collaborations come from most effective 3 to 5 % of workers.” Why it occurs is someone’s wager, however it is a development to make sure that.

The lopsidedness displays up in gender, too, with girls discovering they should be observed as useful individuals, one thing they are able to succeed in by announcing sure to collaboration. In a find out about, when each women and men stayed past due to assist colleagues, males had been rated upper for it than girls. And when each women and men declined to keep past due and assist others, girls had been rated decrease for it than males. So, it is imaginable that girls really feel obligated to be collaborative greater than they could like, seeing as their reputations rely on it.

Top Performers Burnout

When organizational values give an excessive amount of weight to collaboration, two commonplace issues end result:

First, it creates an always-on tradition, the place workers really feel the desire to reply to messages after hours and on days off.

Second, other folks really feel burdened to say sure to each collaborative effort that comes their method. Because collaborative environments have a tendency to be lopsided, the perfect individuals finally end up getting probably the most calls to take part, whether or not it is giving comments, sharing institutional wisdom, attending conferences, or approving selections. When the perfect valued folks really feel burdened to say sure to each request, and they’re bombarded with them, burnout is not some distance off.

Bottlenecks Stall Work

Building on the concept that small numbers of other folks disproportionately give a contribution to collaborative efforts, and that they’re over-taxed with requests, bottlenecks broaden and paintings stalls. When everybody within the group is based an excessive amount of at the contributions of a small workforce of other folks, then paintings cannot transfer ahead till the ones extremely valued workers weigh in.

How to Encourage Collaboration And Avoid Its Pitfalls

Reduce the Number of Interactions Required

If you had been to map out the collaborative procedure of having paintings finished, the place paintings passes from one individual to the following, or when it comes to an approval procedure, at once again to the former individual, it will seem like this:

collaboration illustration

Organizations that simplify the working type or higher align the group (within the phrases of Michael Mankin, a spouse on the consulting company Bain & Company and creator of Time, Talent, Energy) successfully cut back the selection of interactions.

For instance, by knocking down buildings, fewer executives and executives finally end up weighing in on selections, which reduces the selection of other folks and interactions concerned with a collaborative effort. It additionally empowers suitable other folks to default to motion and make selections that assist the group transfer ahead.

Set Boundaries

Set limitations in order that other folks can give protection to their time and effort as it should be. Cutting down at the selection of conferences held and their period could make an amazing distinction. Some professionals recommend environment a prohibit at the selection of hours a week someone is permitted to take a seat in conferences. Another tactic is to create a tradition by which positive stakeholders can make a choice no longer to attend each assembly in complete, however reasonably sign up for just for the section that pertains to them.

Equally necessary are cultural norms about replying to messages after hours. Replying to messages off hours might appear useful within the second, however it could give a contribution to a harmful tradition that reasons burnout. Team participants must be to be had to different colleagues all through paintings hours, nevertheless it should not be anticipated on their day off. Employees in management and control roles are able to set the tone right here.

Spread Out Decision Making

Shift the weight of constructing selections from most effective best performers or managers to folks within the group. People regularly grow to be bottlenecks as a result of they are in top call for, no longer since the paintings calls for it.

Find your bottlenecks and tally up the entire paintings that calls for their approval or comments. Of that paintings, what might be finished by any person else, in all probability any person decrease within the organizational construction? Spreading out the powers of decision-making gets rid of bottlenecks and lightens the burden at the top performers who by accident create them.

Balance the Reward System

Balanced organizational cultures praise each particular person contributions and teamwork. But maximum cultures don’t seem to be all that balanced. The tendency is to officially praise particular person success however informally praise collaboration. The salesclerk with probably the most gross sales may get an award and an advantage, however the one who stocks wisdom and offers comments simply earns a name for being useful. It takes concerted effort to alternate a praise device in order that it praises individuals who steadiness particular person success and collaborative contributions. Yet, it may be finished.

A a hit instance comes from glass and fabrics corporate Corning (as described on this video webinar by Wharton School professor Adam Grant; get started at 16:05). According to Grant, Corning has a prestigious fellows program that rewards workers with a role for existence and a lab for existence in the event that they meet two standards. One is being the lead creator on a patent that brings in an amazing amount of cash. The different is being a constant contributor to patents authored by different scientists and engineers. Doing one or the opposite is not sufficient. You can most effective obtain this fantastic praise should you do each.


Collaboration has quite a lot of advantages. When other folks paintings in combination, it supplies a chance to have a extra numerous mindset for a way to create new merchandise or processes, and the collective knowledge of a bunch most probably outweighs the tips and data of a person. Researchers are discovering, on the other hand, that collaborative cultures have a tendency to create a couple of commonplace issues as neatly. By figuring out what those issues are and having a couple of methods readily available to save you them, you’ll be able to stay your workforce productive.

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