Is collaboration a hard skill? (+ importance of collaboration skills)

In this blogpost, we will be discussing if collaboration is a hard skill. We will also be explaining what are hard skills and soft skills in the workplace. In addition, we shall also be explaining why collaboration skills are important in an organization.

Employers and recruiters look for candidates who demonstrate a good balance between their hard skills and soft skills. When both the skillsets are balanced well, it leads to better teamwork and individual productivity.

Is collaboration a hard skill?

No, collaboration is not a hard skill. Collaboration requires a set of soft skills that enable a person to work better with others to achieve a shared goal. Collaboration skills are highly essential in the workplace as they lead to better achievement of both shared and individual goals.  Collaboration skills can be of different types. These include:

Verbal communication skills

Even though it may sound simple enough, effectively conveying your message through verbal communication can be tricky. When team members talk to each other, it is essential that they do so in a respectful and tactful manner. This ensures the message is understood clearly by all the members. Team members should also be able to disagree without it leading to conflicts.

Non-verbal communication skills

Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. Through non-verbal communication, the message can be enhanced for better clarity. These skills include body language, gestures, eye-contact, postures, tone of voice, etc. While working in a team, members should clearly consider their non-verbal skills as it can entirely change the communication style.

Written communication skills

Organizations rely on a lot of written communication. From emails to instant messaging and memos, written communication is used highly in a business setting. It is important to be mindful while conveying a message through writing as sometimes it can set the wrong tone. Thus, knowing how to write a message and painting the right picture while sending it is an essential skill.

Listening skills

Communication is not a one-way process, especially while working in a collaborative team. Listening is an important part of the communication process itself. Practicing active listening without judgement is essential when team members work together. Active listening can avoid conflicts and misunderstandings, while promoting team cohesion and teamwork.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence does not refer to one particular skill, but a set of skills. Emotional intelligence is becoming highly sought after, even more than IQ levels. Individuals who have good emotional intelligence can overcome hardships better, are more self-aware and can work in teams better.

The emotional intelligence skill set combines skills that include empathy, understanding, compassion, resilience, tolerance as well as conflict resolution. These skills take time and effort to develop. For this , many individuals practice meditation, journaling, therapy, counseling, etc.

Understanding and respecting diversity

Understanding and respecting diversity is also another essential skill for collaboration. Since organizations are becoming globalized, teams have members from various cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. Thus, understanding and respecting diversity is crucial for teams to work together.

In order to practice this, team members should let go of personal biases and have a non-judgmental attitude. Respecting diversity also refers to accepting and understanding diverse opinions and suggestions. Perceiving different opinions as a positive thing rather than obstacle is the attitude an emotionally intelligent person possesses.

What are hard skills and soft skills?

Simply put, hard skills are technical skills particularly related to a specific job. On the other hand, soft skills are qualities that help individuals work in an organization. Let’s look at these in detail.

Hard skills

Hard skills are also called technical skills. They are specific to a particular job or position in an organization. Each job profile in an organization requires a unique hard skill or set of hard skills. These skills can be developed by education, internships or hands-on experiences. Hard skills can also be easily measured objectively.

Soft skills

Soft skills are not exactly skills but personal characteristics. They are usually required by all employees or team members regardless of their position or seniority level. These skills help the organization run in a civil and smooth manner. Soft skills can be developed through personal experiences and not generally through a classroom setting.

Since they are intangible qualities, it becomes difficult to measure them. Recruiters and employers might however assess soft skills by posing situational and behavioral questions during an interview process in order to assess soft skills.

Why are collaboration skills important in an organization?

Collaboration skills are important as they lead to great benefits for an organization. It not only has advantages for the organization’s profit but also the health and wellness of the employees. Some of the benefits of collaboration skills for an organization are explained below:

Collaboration leads to open communication

When collaboration is effectively practiced in the organization, the communication becomes open and transparent between members. When there is open communication, information is shared easier, leading to a better work process. There are also lesser chances of misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Clarity about goals and expectations

Collaboration allows team members to be clear about goals and the roles they will be playing in their achievements. When the team members are aware of the goals and understand them well, they work better towards achieving them. They can also understand their own individual goals and thus show better ownership and accountability.

Solving problems in a better manner

Collaboration also allows problems to be solved more efficiently. In a collaborative environment, team members can give their opinions and suggestions openly. In this manner, problems can be recognized earlier and be solved more efficiently. With different skill sets and expertise working together, creative solutions for problems can also be implemented.

Focusing on shared goals above individual goals

Employees in an organization may have their own personal goals for career development and individual progress. However, a collaborative environment promotes focus on shared goals rather than personal ones. Since the individual feels highly bonded with the team, they feel a great ownership of the shared goal itself, so much so that it becomes akin to a personal goal.

Acknowledging contributions

Collaborative teams also celebrate individual successes and give credit to their accomplishments. Hidden talents and contributions to the team may be more highlighted, giving employees more value in the team. Collaborative teams also focus on the team as a unit and celebrate their unique identity.

Looking past mistakes

While mistakes and conflicts may occur in a team, collaboration leads to efficient resolutions. It also encourages team members to look past mistakes and errors. This happens because collaboration itself encourages team members to focus on the bigger picture and work for a larger cause.


In this blogpost, we have discussed if collaboration is a hard skill. We have also explained what are hard skills and soft skills in the workplace. In addition, we have also been explaining why collaboration skills are important in an organization.

Frequently asked questions: (Is collaboration a hard skill?)

What hard skills are employers looking for?

Though different jobs require different hard skills, there are some that are in high demand. A few of the hard skills that employers eagerly look for are:

Technical skills

Technical skills are specific to a certain field. They are usually skills that are required in the field of engineering or information technology. These skills help employees use software or even equipment that is related to the job. A few examples of these skills are CAD, troubleshooting, network administration, linear regression, etc.

Data analysis

Data analysis is a top trend in the job market these days. It allows an individual to observe data and make conclusions based on patterns and analysis. Data analysis is required in fields that work with a lot of information where trends need to be spotted early on and used to promote brands or businesses. A few examples of these fields are forecasting, data mining, etc.

Computer skills

Computer skills are considered a basic skill in organizations today. They also look for individuals with advanced computer skills. These skills help employees use computers and software for a particular task. Some examples of computer skills required today are Microsoft office suite, email, typing, html, etc.

Management skills

A manager requires both hard skills and soft skills to effectively manage a team. While the soft skills allow them to work with people better, they also need hard skills to successfully implement their tasks. A few examples of these skills are business knowledge, logistics, business development skills, finance, etc.

Marketing skills

Since marketing is an important part of any successful organization, mentioning marketing skills on a resume can impress recruiters. These skills help organizations market and promote themselves and their products among various customer populations. Examples of marketing skills are digital marketing, social media marketing, graphic design, copywriting, etc.

What are the top skills employers are looking for?

The top skills that employers look for are:

Communication skills

Communication skills are essential for every workplace. Managers and team leaders require team members who can communicate effectively and also listen to each other intently. The communication skills not only refer to speaking skills but also non-verbal communication as well as written communication. Good communication can lead to better productivity and efficiency.

Teamwork skills

Teamwork skills help organizations achieve smoother workflows, thus enabling them to achieve their goals faster. Teamwork is important in any position or seniority level and hence highly essential for an employee to develop. Teamwork can include skills such as communication, collaboration, honesty and accountability.

Leadership skills

Leadership skills are not only required for those in leadership or managerial roles. Having these skills will help an employee rise to better ranks in the organization. These skills help team members motivate each other. Leadership skills include the ability to listen to others, ability to give constructive feedback and delegate responsibilities appropriately.

Organizational skills

These skills help teams and organizations manage time and assign tasks properly. Great organizational skills allow companies to save time as well as energy, leading to less wastage of resources. Organizational skills can include planning abilities and also problem-solving.

Learning skills

Since organizations are turning into learning organizations, these skills are highly expected of their employees. Learning skills help individuals maneuver through various changes and adapt to new situations and trends. When organizations can adapt to change well, they can also turn a greater business profit.

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