Collaboration: Getting Back On Track When Things Go Sideways At Work



Working together, getting along at work and being an effective productive team takes collaboration (along with many other skills).  Collaboration can go sideways quickly, however putting things back together does not happen as fast.

There are a number of reasons that collaborations face challenges, such as:

– personality clashes and working style differences

– lack of agreement  on vision, purpose and reason for collaboration

– expectations that have not been voiced or clarified

– unchecked assumptions

– expectations that don’t get met

– miscommunication or missed communication

– conflict that has not been addressed


When teamwork breaks down and collaborations are challenged, leaders find themselves spending more time on:

– crisis management and rumour control

– projects that have become stalled

– fixing damaged relationships

– helping to restore trust

– managing increased stress 

Leaders will be well served to spend time and energy keeping collaborations and teams healthy, working well together and addressing issues (even if they seem small) as they arise.  Little issues become big issues when they are not addressed. Here are a few tips to help your team when collaboration needs help:

– communicate openly, clearly and often

– invite input

– provide feedback and be open to receiving it

– avoid assumptions

– address issues early on

– provide opportunities for the team to engage in projects together

These actions go a long way in building trust, improving collaborating and creating a better workplace for all.