What are the characteristics of collaboration? (+4 steps)

This article will shed light on the important characteristics of collaboration. We will also be explaining how to create a collaborative team. Through collaboration, organizations have a higher chance of success in achieving their goals. They can also create better work environment for their employees through the process of collaboration.

What are the characteristics of collaboration?

The different characteristics of collaboration are:

  • Accountability and responsibility in tasks
  • High goal orientation
  • Clear strategy for goal achievement
  • Effective communication
  • Smart goals
  • Strong work ethic
  • Sturdy value system

Through collaboration, a group can achieve a lot more than what individual team members can achieve by themselves. Collaboration however, requires more than just a policy or software. It needs to deeply seep into the organizational culture and climate for it to be successful. The various characteristics of collaboration are explained below:

Accountability and responsibility in tasks

Collaboration requires the team members to show accountability and responsibility for their individual goals and tasks. This means being responsible for the planning and the strategy, the gathering of resources and such until the final step of the task completion. When accountability and responsibility is practiced, the individual productivity and work efficiency go up.

High goal orientation

The team members who are collaborating are highly oriented and committed to the goal. They understand clearly what the goal aims to achieve and also the expected impact on the target population. Since they focus on the bigger picture of the project, the team members are aware of the essentiality of this goal and deeply relate to it and thus are highly goal-oriented.

Clear strategy for goal achievement

The team members are also aware of the strategy which is going to be used in order to achieve the shared goal. They are well-informed about the deadlines of the project, what tool they will be using to collaborate and how they will be communicating with each other. When the entire team understands the strategy, this leads to better ownership of the project itself.

Effective communication

Effective communication is a signature element of the collaboration process. Without open and effective communication, there wouldn’t be any collaboration. Effective collaboration happens when the listener actively listens to the speaker with the intention of understanding and not only responding.

Smart goals

Collaborative teams also set smart goals that can help make their work processes smoother and highly efficient. Smart goals are those which are very specific, easily measurable, achievable with the current resources and skills and deeply relatable to the individual. These goals also follow a certain time-frame, by the end of which they should be accomplished.

Strong work ethic

Strong work ethic is practiced by the team members of a collaborative team. This means completing deadlines on time, ensuring the satisfaction of stakeholders, coming to work punctually, finishing tasks efficiently, while also helping others in reaching their individual goals.

Sturdy value system

Collaboration requires the team members to follow a sturdy value system. The value system acts like a set of ground rules in order to guide the work process. It can also help in the processes of problem-solving as well as decision-making. The set of values can greatly help in aligning work processes to the organizational goals and vision.

Additionally to these, collaboration also has other important characteristics such as:

It involves shared responsibility and a shared purpose

Team members who collaborate with each other not only are committed to the shared purpose but also show shared responsibility for the same. For this, they must show active participation and engagement in all the group processes. When this happens, the workflow is smoother and faces lesser disruptions along the way.

It enforces collaborative decision-making

Collaborative working also means collaborative decision-making. In collaborative decision-making, all the parties involved have equal autonomy in the process. This means the opinions and ideas of each team member are valid and valued. Collaborative decision-making also requires employees or team members to show high responsibility for the decision taken.

Resources and tools are shared

Collaboration does not only refer to regular communication and working together. It also refers to the sharing of tools and resources among the team members. When resources are shared, there is more exchange of information and better learning in the team. Team members are exposed to new trends and designs that they might not have been aware of previously.

How to create a collaborative team?

In order to create a collaborative team, leaders and managers can use the following steps:

Choosing the team members

For the team to be effective at collaboration, it needs to be composed of the right team members. These are those individuals who have the right skill sets and expertise for the project. They also should have complementary mindsets and working styles which will allow the team to work in a smooth flow.

Reach out and persuade the team members

Once the team members have been identified, they need to be persuaded to collaborate as a group. For this, the goal and long-term vision of the team has to be explained. The prospective team members should also be aware of their individual roles and responsibilities in the project in order to paint a clearer picture of the team process.

Maintain the relationship

When the team members are aware of the shared purpose between them and their individual roles in the project, they need to keep communicating with each other regularly and frequently. This is so that the relationship can be developed and the collaboration can be efficient. In this stage, it also will be highly useful to set a collaboration strategy and implement it.

Start working together

Now the team can start working together to achieve the goal. This is where actual collaboration strategies and techniques might be used. To encourage positive and constructive collaboration, leaders and managers can use well-coordinated meetings, team-building activities, encouraging healthy discussions and also encouraging socializing outside of work.


This article has shed light on the important characteristics of collaboration. We have also explained the various steps involved in creating a collaborative team in order to accomplish a certain goal for the organization.

Frequently asked questions: (What are the characteristics of collaboration?)

What is a characteristic of a collaborative relationship?

A collaborative relationship has not one but several important characteristics. These important characteristics are:

Open and honest communication between the team members

In a truly collaborative relationship, there is open and honest communication between the team members. This means that the team members share information and knowledge openly with each other. They also give honest feedback and criticism, albeit in a respectful and supportive manner.

Voluntary participation in collaboration

The collaborative process itself is voluntary, which means the team members are not coerced into it. They however, may gently be prodded and persuaded into collaborating with each other, for the sake of the greater good. Since the team members are working together voluntarily, they show more commitment to the achievement of the goals.


Individual goals and roles

The team members in a collaborative relationship have their own individual goals and roles they are responsible for. These goals and roles are carefully assigned, keeping in mind the personalities and qualifications of these individual team members. The team members may also be given autonomy to make decisions considering their roles and responsibilities.

Use of a collaboration tool

The collaboration process in any organization may opt for the use of a collaboration tool. This piece of technology is highly beneficial for those teams which work remotely. It can also be useful for large organizations where physical proximity might not always be feasible. The tools can be used for communication, project management and file sharing, among other things.

What are the different types of collaboration tools?

The different types of collaboration tools are explained as follows:

Instant messaging or chat apps

These tools are the most basic type of collaboration software used in organizations. Through the use of instant messaging apps, team members can send messages to each other and have conversations online. They may also use the app to send group messages for a specific purpose. These tools can be used both synchronously as well as asynchronously.

File sharing tools

These tools are used by the team members to share files and documents with each other. In this manner, the employees can save a lot of time that goes into looking for files. They may also share information through the forms of videos and documents for the purpose of education and learning.

Calendar sharing tools

Calendar sharing tools are highly useful for those organizations and teams that have frequent events such as meetings, discussions, appointments, etc. Through the use of these tools, the team members can share their schedules with each other and also receive notifications or reminders about upcoming events.

Video-conferencing tools

Video-conferencing tools can greatly help remote teams communicate and interact with each other. These tools are also used by families and friends to communicate with each other when they are placed in different geographical locations. With the help of these tools, team members can also conduct meetings and seminars with a large number of participants.

Whiteboard apps

Whiteboard apps can be used for brainstorming and healthy discussions between team members. These apps have the advantage of being accessible synchronously and asynchronously. This means the team members can access it whenever they want and post their suggestions and ideas. Whiteboards are popular among introverted team members, who might otherwise not open up.

Project management software

Project management software can be used for not only collaboration but also work and project management. These tools usually have a wide range of features that enable teams to communicate with each other, track the progress of tasks and also see to the on-time completion of projects.

How can you improve collaboration?

Leaders and managers can improve collaboration in their teams by using the different strategies mentioned below:

  • They can inspire others to collaborate by leading the way through example. This means practicing collaboration in all their tasks and duties through open and transparent communication, high accountability and collaborative decision-making.
  • They can bring team members from diverse cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. This can generate multiple perspectives in the team, creating innovative and meaningful solutions.
  • They can use an online collaboration tool that can simplify the collaborative process. These tools can also improve the communication between team members and additionally help in project management.
  • Leaders and managers can personally interact with the team members and build healthy relationships. This further strengthens the team and also gives an insight into the mindset of the team members.
  • They need to create a strong sense of purpose among the team members for the collaborative process itself. This means aligning the project goals with the personal goals of the team members.

If you like this article, please post your questions and comments in the space below.





10 Collaborative Leadership Characteristics







Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!