Can we collaborate without communication? (+7 communication skills)

In this article, we shall be explaining if we can collaborate without communication. We will also be looking at the difference between communication and collaboration and also why they both matter in the workplace. Lastly, we shall be looking at the various skills that make up collaborative communication in an organization.

Can we collaborate without communication?

No, we cannot collaborate without communication. However, communication can exist without the need for collaboration, but definitely not the other way around. For collaboration to be effective there has to clear communication between the team members. This allows stronger team cohesion, a better deliverance of the message and also lesser conflicts in the team.

With more and more employees working remotely, organizations are struggling to improve collaboration when the communication is not physical. Many teams are still trying to find the distinction between communication and collaboration and are looking for new strategies to merge the two.

Difference between communication and collaboration

Communication is basically the sharing of information between people. It can include just talking, or sending a text message or video-conferencing with a team. communication itself takes many forms like verbal communication, non-verbal communication and written communication.. Each of these forms is equally important in the workplace.

Collaboration, on the other hand, is team members working closely together in order to achieve a specific goal. To achieve the goal, collaboration uses effective communication between the members of a team. Collaboration requires constant communication throughout the work process, which helps in improving work efficiency as well as individual productivity.

Why does communication and collaboration matter?

Communication and collaboration both matter greatly in a workplace. Effective collaboration through good communication can bring many wonderful benefits to an organization, such as:

·   They allow organizations to become flatter in their structure

·   They create open lines of communication across functionalities and hierarchal levels

·   They promote flexibility and adaptability to new trends and challenges

·   They help in making remote working more efficient

·   They support virtual businesses

·   They increase team cohesion and thus smoother teamwork

·   They encourage creativity and agile learning

·   They help teams solve problems quicker and more effectively

·   They inspire teams to look at the bigger picture

·   They foster a strong sense of purpose among team members

·   They allow mutual trust and respect in the team

·   They promote critical thinking

·   They improve individual productivity and employee engagement

·   They lead to happier and healthier employees

Important skills for collaborative communication

Collaborative communication happens when effective communication between team members translates to better collaboration in the team. It allows better work rhythm and faster achievement of team goals. Collaborative communication also reduces the chances of conflict in the team. Some of the important skills required for collaborative communication are:

Active listening skills

Listening is an extremely important part of the communication process. It helps in understanding the message clearly as well as making the communicator feel valued. Listening is also a sign of respect in the team and contributes highly to the team cohesion. It is important to listen even if you do not agree with the person’s opinion or suggestions.

Acknowledging contributions and giving credit

Acknowledging someone else’s contribution needs a letting go of personal ego. However, this skill is required in a team. It inspires and motivates team members to go out of their way and do more for the team. While giving credit to an individual, it is also important to give focus to the team as a unit. This can further create a collaborative spirit among the team members.

Ability to cooperate with others

Recruiters and employers are increasingly looking for workers who can easily fit in a team. Since a collaborative culture is fast becoming a permanent approach in organizations, employees need to have the skills that will enable them to work closely with others. This requires an individual to work with diverse people and have great communication skills.

Problem-solving skills

Since problems and challenges are a common occurrence in business organizations, problem-solving skills are essentially required. This is not only required in those who are leaders and managers, but among everyone in the team. Team members need to be able to identify problem areas before-hand and come up with multiple solutions.


Being open-minded as a team member allows broad discussions and a high generation of ideas. When there is an open-minded culture in the organization, diverse opinions and ideas will be brought up allowing the team to pursue multiple paths to reach the shared goal.

Planning and organization skills

In order to be an effective collaborator, a team member needs to have great organizational skills. They need to know the right information and background of a project and be able to gather the resources and required people for the job. They also need to find the right tools that reduce the workload and thus increase work efficiency.

Ability to give feedback appropriately

For a team to work effectively together, feedback has to be given appropriately. Proper feedback can allow team members to fix loopholes and make the work process better. However, effective collaborators should know the right manner to give feedback without the risk of creating conflicts and hurting sentiments.

Willingness to look at the bigger picture

 Being willing to look at the bigger picture allows team members to take better ownership of the shared goal. It also motivates team members as they know their project will help create a large impact in the community. Thus, it brings more meaning to the goal, creating a deeper value in the minds of the employees.


In this article, we have explained if we can collaborate without communication. We have also looked at the difference between communication and collaboration and also why they both matter in the workplace. Lastly, we have discussed the various skills that make up collaborative communication in an organization.

Frequently asked questions: (Can we collaborate without communication?)

Why is communication important in collaborative working?

Communication is greatly important in collaboration for the following reasons:

It promotes team-spirit and teamwork

Effective communication helps the team work together as a single unit. It does not only refer to communication about work issues but also personal lives. Thus, it brings team members closer together and helps them work intimately with each other.

It allows greater problem-solving

Communication can help in solving-problems efficiently. When there is open communication between the team members, problems can be found quicker and tackled on time. This not only solves the issue but also prevents further issues. Open communication can also multiple solutions to be created for a particular issue.

It allows better clarity of the project

When team members are clear about the project and the expected outcomes, they work more efficiently. Effective communication encourages regular feedback and quick clarification of any doubts which helps in achieving the goals effectively.

What is the key to collaboration?

Collaboration requires several key elements in order to be effective in an organization. Only when these elements or factors are in place will the collaboration lead to productivity and efficiency of work. Some of these factors are discussed below:

Clear understanding of the project

When the team members who are involved understand the project and the impact it will have, they will collaborate effectively to accomplish the goals. The team should be aware of the background of the project and why it came into place. It important to also understand the stakeholders and how they will be involved in the issue.

Clarity on the goals

The team members should be clear about the shared goal. They should also understand what their individual roles and responsibilities will be in the particular project. When there is better understanding about the goal, the team members will show better ownership of it. This will also encourage more transparency and accountability in the work.

Commitment from all team members

All the team members need to be equally committed to achieve the goal. When there is unequal commitment, the team will not work in a smooth rhythm. This can lead to disruptions in the workflow and affect productivity. For high commitment to the project, the team members should be convinced of its usefulness and must feel highly related to it.

Mutual trust in the team

Trust is highly important for a team to function effectively. When there is trust between team members, there is high inter-dependency on each other. This leads to stronger team cohesion and faster work completion. There must also be high trust between the team members and the management which will lead to better employee engagement and commitment to the project.

Knowledgeable members with right expertise

The team should comprise the right individuals in order to work efficiently. The right team member should possess the right knowledge and experience. They should also be resourceful for the team to help them maneuver various hiccups in the work process. The team members should not only be skilled in their work but also be equipped with the right soft skills.

Effective leadership

A team needs a great leader to work efficiently. The leader should be someone who is the most motivated of all the members and highly committed to the project. They should have great communication skills and the power to inspire and motivate others in the team in order to achieve the goal.

Support from management

The team members require the right support from the management in order to achieve their goals. Without the right support, the team members will face many obstacles, thus slowing down their work process and missing deadlines as a result. This requires the right protocols in place, the right decision-makers and overall a supportive organizational culture.

What does collaboration feel like?

Collaboration has great benefits for an organization like increased work productivity, high employee engagement and retention and improved business profits. But it also has many pro-employee benefits, like:

·   Employees feel highly respected and valued in the organization

·   They feel supported by the management

·   They feel heard by their team members and team leaders

·   Employees feel satisfied

·   They can put their talents to good use

Why is collaboration so difficult?

Even though collaboration is an essentiality in today’s workplaces, many organizations still find it difficult to implement effective collaboration in their teams. The main reason why these organizations find collaboration difficult is because they do not know how valuable their team members are.

The management refuses to spend time and effort to get to know the employees on a deeper level and thus is not aware of their other talents and skills. Thus, they do not value the team members well enough. When the team members don’t feel valued enough, they will reduce their engagement and commitment to the management and their projects.

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