What are collaboration rules? (+7 barriers to collaboration)

This article will aim to explain what collaboration rules are. We shall also describe the various rules of collaboration most organizations follow. In addition, we will be listing out different barriers to collaboration in the workplace and the benefits of team collaboration for an organization.

What are collaboration rules?

Collaboration rules are those which guide the process of collaboration between employees or team members. This can also be between various individuals looking for partnerships and alliances with each other. These rules make the team process a lot smoother and more efficient.

Common rules of collaboration

The most common rules of collaboration that organizations use are described below:

Use oral communication more

Organizations use various forms of communication to convey messages. These communication mediums can be oral or written. Most organizations rely heavily on emails and email chains for their communication. However, written communication may be too impersonal, for which employees might need to talk more than send emails or texts.

Voice your opinions

For collaboration to be effective, every team member needs to speak up and voice out their opinions and suggestions. This pools more ideas and resources in the group. It also inspires others to open up and do the same. Voicing your opinions can also greatly improve the quality of the work process in the team.

Understand and accept your role

In order for the team to function smoothly, the individual team members need to understand their roles and work accordingly. If you do not understand your role, you might not be motivated to put in all your effort. Understanding your role clearly also helps you identify your stakeholders, the resources and skill sets you need and where you can find them.

Respect others

Give respect and take respect, right? This rule works very well for collaboration too. Respect needs to be shown in all matters of conversation. It means listening intently while someone is speaking, using their ideas and suggestions and also understanding where their criticism is coming from. Mutual trust and respect can create a very strong team cohesion.

Use a human-centered approach

Though organizations have their own stable policies for work as well as collaboration, it is still made up of persons who have their personas and emotions. Thus, many times a policy or corporate process might not work with people. Don’t be afraid to use a human-centered approach and really get to know people on a personal level.

Choose the right tools

Using the right tools can greatly improve the process of collaboration. Through collaboration tools, team members can communicate with each other, attend meetings and also manage tasks and projects. However, the incorrect tool can lead to ineffective collaboration or even a collaboration overload.

Acknowledge contributions

A collaborative team encourages and motivates the team members to bring in more individual contributions and ideas. Thus, team members not only give many ideas, but also help intensely when they participate in the work process. An important rule of collaboration is acknowledging and recognizing accomplishments and contributions.

Learn from your past

While collaborating in a team, it is important to use the best practices to make the work process smooth and efficient. These can be found by looking at the history of the organization or the team and checking what strategies have worked. Once you find a strategy or process that works for you, it is good to keep using it until it stops working.

Barriers to collaboration in the workplace

Even though organizations may have a solid plan in mind while implementing collaborative practices, there still can be barriers for the same. A few barriers that organizations face when they are collaborating are:

  • No long-term thinking among the group members
  • Unclear or improper goals for the team
  • Lack of support from management or higher authorities
  • Wrong participants in the team
  • Unwillingness to learn and develop
  • Low self-awareness among team members
  • Incorrect tool being used for collaboration
  • Improper workspaces that discourage collaboration

Benefits of team collaboration

Team collaboration helps organizations grow horizontally as well as vertically. Through team collaboration, organizations can achieve their goals quicker and are more aligned and committed to their vision and values. The other great benefits that team collaboration brings to an organization are:

Higher employee engagement

When there is great collaboration in the organization, it leads to more employee participation and engagement. This is because employees are more goal-oriented and highly committed to achieving the shared purpose. When employees show more engagement, a lot more ideas are generated leading to more innovative products from the company.

Better communication between employees

Through collaborative practices, the communication between employees becomes more effective. The communication is more clear and concise and also understanding of both the speaker and the listener. Through effective communication, the work process becomes more smoother and efficient, leading to better productivity in the organization.

More flexibility in business

A business organization should be able to adjust to changes and challenges easily. Successful organizations are those that use challenges to their advantage and stay on top of trends in the market. Collaboration allows teams to become more flexible and adaptable because of the high levels of interdependence and support among the team members.

Better innovative products

When team members work together in a positive environment, they are encouraged to share more ideas and opinions. Using the different skillsets present in the team, employees have the resources to build on these ideas and come out with innovative designs. Collaborative leaders also support this by lending guidance and giving autonomy to take calculated risks.


This article has explained what collaboration rules are. We have also described the various rules of collaboration most organizations follow. Additionally, we have listed out different barriers to collaboration in the workplace and the benefits of team collaboration for an organization.

Frequently asked questions: (What are collaboration rules?)

What is workplace collaboration?

Workplace collaboration is when several people work together in an organization in order to achieve a specific purpose. They share their ideas and thoughts and pool their resources together to make decisions and solve problems in the organization. Workplace collaboration is highly essential for the smooth functioning of an organization and contributes highly to its success.

What are collaborations in business?

Business collaborations help organizations grow and expand while allowing them to achieve their goals faster and better. These collaborations help in generating new ideas and implementing a smooth work process. The two different types of collaborations in business are:

Internal collaboration

Internal collaboration in an organization happens when various individuals in the company work closely together either for daily tasks or for a major project. This kind of collaboration usually is implemented through a specific collaboration tool. These online collaboration tools help make the internal communications more effective and productive.

Internal collaboration can take place in the form of instant messaging between different employees. It can also be through voice or video calling. Virtual meetings are also a part of internal collaborations. The collaboration tools also help in file sharing, access to information and also project management.

External collaboration

External collaborations happen outside the organization, especially with the aim of business expansion and higher profit generation. They can take many forms with strategic alliances being the most common form. These alliances allow organizations to work together for a certain period in order to share knowledge and learn from each other.

This collaboration can also take the form of portfolio collaborations where a large organization works with many smaller organizations. The larger organization guides the process of collaboration and sets the outline for the process. This type of collaboration is usually a long-term one with the goal of creating more connections for the organizations involved.

Another type of external collaboration is network collaboration where the entire purpose of the interactions is to share information and improve learning. This network can have semi-formal mode of communication and is usually an on-going type of collaboration.

Why is collaboration important within a community?

While collaboration is a common term used in corporate climates, it is something that communities and societies should strive for. Through collaboration, a community can achieve its long-term goals while also bringing all the group members close together. Using collaborative skills, communities can focus on the bigger picture and make plenty of positive changes.

How do you build collaboration?

In order to build collaboration among members of a group, we can use the following strategies:

Set a clear goal for collaboration

The collaboration requires a clearly set goal in order for the team members to participate actively in the process. The goal should be highly meaningful and relatable to the team members. When the team understands the value of the project and the impact it is going to create in their lives and that of others, they will engage more in the work process.

Use individual strengths

Capitalizing on individual strengths of the team members can be a great strategy to encourage collaboration. This is in fact the trademark character of a collaborative leader. When team members are allowed to showcase their personal strengths and talents in the team, they naturally show more responsibility and accountability for the project.

Socialize outside of work

In order to foster collaboration in a group, team members can be encouraged to socialize and interact out of the office or work environment. This can bring socializing to a new level, without the pressures and restrictions of the work environment. Many organizations organize off-site events particularly for this purpose.

Encourage cross-functional collaboration

Sometimes large organizations often have silos in it that restrict inter-departmental or cross-functional collaboration. This has a disadvantage of restricting access to information and also less sharing of knowledge and information between employees. Encouraging cross-functional collaboration can knock down silos and bring more resources to the team.

Promote innovative ideas

Through collaboration, creativity and innovation is highly encouraged. Team members can be encouraged to give out more ideas and opinions during team discussions. They should be encouraged to generate ideas that might even sound too wild. Team leaders can facilitate this by promoting ways through which ideas can be posted and can reach the leadership.

How can collaboration help a business grow?

Collaboration encourages businesses to take calculated risks for new and innovative ideas. It also brings all the employees of the organization to work together in order to achieve the organizational goals. In addition, collaboration allows the company to grow as a community by promoting its values and long-term visions in the employees involved.

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