What are the three levels of collaboration? (+ types of collaborators)

In this blogpost, we shall be looking at the three levels of collaboration in detail. We shall also be explaining why collaboration matters in the workplace and the different types of collaborators. Collaboration is teamwork taken to a much higher level, where there is more interaction and transparency. It ensures that work in an organization takes place in a much smoother and more efficient manner.

What are the three levels of collaboration?

The three levels of collaboration are explained below:

  • Team Collaboration where tasks are completed

This type of collaboration is the most common kind used in business organizations. At this level of collaboration, the members of a particular team get to know each other and work toward a specific goal. The goal is set in alignment with a set of values or ground rules that all the members need to follow.

In team collaboration, there is a team leader who leads the members in the process of completing a project. The leader is also in charge of delegating tasks and assigning roles and responsibilities. They also implement communication techniques and project management techniques for successful achievement of goals.

Team collaboration requires the members to communicate frequently and regularly. This ensures less misunderstandings and better resolution of conflicts. The team also move at the same pace and succeeds or fails as a single unit.

  • Community Collaboration where information is shared

In community collaboration, individuals get together because they share a similar interest or opinion. In this space, they share ideas, knowledge and other information. Though they may not work on projects together, they still are closely knit because of the interest they share. The members may help and support each other by sharing whatever informational resources they may have.

This type of collaboration is important for growth and development of employees in an organization. It can allow employees to discuss career goals as well as personal issues with each other in a safe space. It can also promote training and development as well as mentoring by senior employees.

  • Network Collaboration where individuals market themselves

In this type of collaboration, employees take individual responsibility for their own needs. They may interact with employees from other departments or other levels and even other organizations in order to network themselves. In this manner, they make their skill sets and areas of expertise known to others.

A good example of network collaboration is collaboration using social media tools. Here, all the members might not know each other personally, but can connect and interact with anyone they need to collaborate with.

Why does collaboration matter in the workplace?

Effective collaboration matters because it leads to greater team work and team effectiveness. Because it greatly improves productivity, organizations are emphasizing collaboration increasingly. Collaboration also matters because it leads to newer ideas and opinions, ultimately leading to better products and innovations.

Types of collaborators

There are mainly two types of collaborators, and they are described below.

  • Internal collaborators within the same team

Internal collaboration involves the members of the same team. Here, team members work closely with each other to achieve a certain goal. They are usually led by a team leader who guides the collaboration process to ensure successful completion of the project.

Internal collaborators require regular communication in an open environment to thrive. They also require the right interpersonal and soft skills to work with each other successfully. In addition, they require transparency and accountability from everyone to be able to work efficiently.

  • External collaborators outside the organization

External collaborators are those from outside the organization. External collaboration becomes important for organizations to grow as these collaborators bring in suggestions, opinions and feedback. This exchange and sharing of information can lead to better campaigns and products from the organization.

It can also help organizations focus on greater causes away from business alone. It allows them to be updated about trends in the public and issues that require immediate solutions. Furthermore, it can also help create better alliances with other organizations, eliminating them as competitors.

Frequently asked questions:

What are 3 characteristics of collaborative partnerships?

A workforce that practices effective collaboration shows the following characteristics:

  • Clear roles and responsibilities

In a truly collaborative workforce, the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The roles and tasks are also assigned after much consideration rather than randomly. When the members are clear about their roles, they take more ownership of the role and complete the tasks in a responsible manner.

  • Strong leadership of the team

Collaborative partnerships have strong leaders to guide the team. Effective leaders not only take charge of the whole process but also ensure the project is completed smoothly. In this type of partnership, the leaders advocate and implement open and honest communication. They also display transparency and accountability which the other members rightly follow.

  • Consistent effort from the team members

In a collaborative workforce, the team members have high ownership of the shared goal. They tend to complete the tasks with the goal and the team values in alignment. Team members show consistent and enthusiastic effort in project completions as they personally relate to the goal.

  • Regular communication between the members

 There are high levels of communication and interaction between the members of a collaborative workforce. The communication tends to be open and honest between the members, thus reducing the chances of disputes. Any conflict that may arise is also resolved right there and then in a respectful manner.

  • Resources are shared in the team

A collaborative team tends to be open about sharing information and knowledge. The members are ready to learn from one another and also train each other. This creates a stronger bond between them, while pooling in their resources together.

How do you effectively work with others?

You can work effectively with others in the organization or team using the following strategies:

  • Displaying high trustworthiness

When you show people that you can be trusted with something, they tend to collaborate better with you. You can also become more successful when you show others that you are ready to trust them. This increases cohesiveness and collaboration in the workplace.

  • Giving honest feedback and criticism

Learning to give feedback honestly in a respectful manner is an emotionally intelligent skill. Team members need to learn this skill as soon as possible to ensure better work productivity. To give honest feedback without offending anyone requires training in communication skills, interpersonal skills as well as negotiation skills.

  • Appreciating others in the team

While appreciating others, it is essential to show honesty and integrity. If you appreciate someone falsely without a legitimate reason, it can cause them to lose trust in you. Appreciating and acknowledging someone for their successes helps you work more efficiently with others.

How do you build collaborative relationships with customers?

Building collaborative relationships with customers help brands and organizations learn and develop themselves. It can also lead to better customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Here are a few ways to build collaborative relationships with customers.

  • Ask customers for their feedback

Asking customers for feedback can help brands correct mistakes in their products. It can also lead to the creation of newer and better products. Being able to openly accept feedback goes on to show the customer how responsible as a brand you really are.

  • Communicate with your consumers

Communicating with customers can help you create healthy relationships that can lead to positive changes. Communication however, has to be two-way and can take time and effort.

  • Show your appreciation

Appreciating customers for the right usage of your product can motivate them to be consumers for longer periods of time. It can also help in marketing by word-of-mouth awareness. Appreciating customers can also open up communication, thus being productive for both parties involved.

  • Do more for your customers

When organizations and brands go ahead and exceed expectations, it ensures better relationships with their consumers. It not only is positive in business terms, but can also help in collaborative relationships.

If you like this article, kindly post your comments or questions in the space below.

Citations

http://blog.tribeinc.com/2017/03/14/the-three-levels-of-collaboration-teams-silos-and-customers/

https://pscollaboration.edc.org/sites/default/files/attachments/Levels-of-Collaboration-508-Compliant.pdf

http://www.dodccrp.org/events/13th_iccrts_2008/CD/html/papers/076.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Three-levels-in-collaboration_fig1_229027107

https://hcsc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Negotiation- https://cloudfront-s3.solutiontree.com/pdfs/Reproducibles_GP/figure2.1fivelevelsofcollaboration.pdfThree-Phases-of-Negotiation.pdf

https://www.niu.edu/rcrportal/collabresearch/stages/stages.html
https://www.exoplatform.com/blog/2020/11/11/collaboration-in-business/

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