5 reasons why collaboration fails – and how you can avoid it

Posted by Niall Sullivan

21-Aug-2017 08:00:00

why collaboration fails

If you didn’t know already, successful collaboration in the workplace is important to organisations.

This makes sense, considering a typical worker spends 65% of their workday collaborating and communicating with other people.

But like most things in life, this doesn’t always run smoothly. There are a number of reasons why collaboration fails in an organisation. In this blog post, we will reveal some of the more common problems and more importantly, how they can be solved.

Lack of trust

When you’re given important responsibilities and feel that you’re trusted by your superiors, it makes you feel empowered to do your job.

But what happens when this isn’t the case? It spells disaster. One survey by Tolero Solutions has found that 45% of people say lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting their work performance.

So a lack of trust impacts productivity. Luckily the solution is a very simple. Trust your team members to get on with their jobs without interference.

This is of course even more important for your remote based staff. In fact, remote project management is much easier these days, especially with rise of online collaboration software. It is increasingly being used to manage tasks, collaborate on documents, monitor project updates and much more.

10 Questions to ask an Online Collaboration Supplier

Ineffectual communication

We shouldn’t need to tell you that without communication, effective collaboration is impossible.

That’s why you’ll find that most projects will have its own communication plan. In order for this to work, you should consider including some key points such as:

  • What needs to be shared?
  • How often should it be shared?
  • How will it be communicated?

Once you have the first two points nailed down, choosing the right tools to communicate with your stakeholders becomes critical.

With email being let down by firewall and security issues and meetings taking up too much time, the sensible option would be to use an online collaboration tool.

Using this, you can share confidential information securely and can even keep track of who is reading it and more importantly, who isn’t!

There is certainly and appetite within organisations to use these kind of platforms, with 44% of workers wanting wider adoption of business communication tools.

Personal achievements aren’t recognised

Personal achievements aren’t recognised

All this talk of working together as teams or groups of people sometimes means individual achievements are often forgotten.

For example, you and a colleague may have been asked to come up with ideas on how to improve the sign off process for documents within your team. Both of you come up with some good suggestions, but only yours are implemented in the end.

Naturally you might feel that you deserve at least some individual praise. This would certainly be fair, but a superior might be worried about upsetting the colleague that you were working with.

But singling out individuals shouldn’t be a negative thing. People want to be recognised for their contribution to a project. In fact, 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. We can all attest to that right?

Too much conformity

Groups can be a great way to come up with ideas. You can bounce ideas off each other and decide which ones to take forward and which ones to ditch.

But is this always the case? Think about it another way. If the majority of the team has agreed to a decision, it is sometimes tempting to go along with that rather than rock the boat with your own ideas – even if they’re better!

Doing this however, can do more harm than good. By simply accepting the group decisions, you are not only subconsciously stifling innovation, you’re allowing your great ideas to be forgotten about.

This could also be down your organisation’s culture. It has been reported that 80% of people in the UK found that were under increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work.

With this kind of pressure, it is understandable that decisions need to be made quickly. But what is the point in making a quick decision, if it ends up being the wrong one?

Instead, stick to your guns. Don’t just stick to the general consensus, make your views known. That way you can be sure that your point of view has been taken into consideration.

Employees aren’t fully engaged

Employees aren’t fully engaged

This should also come as no surprise. If team members aren’t engaged with a project, then how do you expect them to collaborate with each other?

There are a number of employee engagement ideas that you could try. More importantly, you should consider how your managerial approach can help to engage your team.

Increase employee engagement within your organisation with our 5 point checklist.

ACAS, the employer and employee advice service, has identified four key attitudes that managers must have to engage team members:

  • Leaders with a vision who value how individuals contribute
  • Line managers who empower rather than control their staff
  • Values that are lived and not just spoken, leading to a sense of trust and integrity
  • Employees who have the chance to voice their views and concerns.

Which all link nicely into the other points that we’ve discussed in this blog post.

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Topics: online collaboration, Employee engagement