What does bad collaboration look like? (+9 red flags)

This article will be focusing on bad collaboration in the workplace. We will be discussing the various signs of bad collaboration and what it can do in the workplace. In addition, we will also be looking at the signs of good collaboration in the workplace. Collaboration has great benefits for an organization, apart from profitable business and productivity. According to a study by Gusto, 54% of employees say that they worked at an organization for a longer period as they experienced great collaboration.

What does bad collaboration look like?

The signs of bad collaboration in the workplace can be:

  • Lack of participation from team members
  • There is a lot of groupthink in the team
  • More misunderstandings among the team members
  • Tasks are not assigned equally
  • There is too much focus on individuals
  • Conflicts are not resolved immediately
  • Team members are not clear on goals and roles
  • Deadlines are not reached in time
  • There is no empathy among the members
  • More employees are leaving the organization

Let us look at these signs in detail below:

Lack of participation from team members

For a workplace to be productive and interesting, employees need to participate actively in discussions and debates. However, if employees are not enthusiastic to speak up or give their opinions, it can be a sign of bad collaboration. When team members are not opening up, despite being given enough opportunities to do so, the culture of the team also changes.

Workplaces become more productive when team members are not afraid to give their suggestions and ideas. This can lead to betterment of ongoing projects or creative new products altogether.

There is a lot of groupthink in the team

When there is more groupthink than original ideas coming up during meetings, it shows that there is a lack of cognitive diversity in the group. Groupthink does not only refer to the lack of new ideas but also can mean the recycling of old ones again and again.

While many leaders would assume that groupthink is a sign of great team cohesion, it is not always so. Effective collaboration is when team members are ready to bring up new opinions as well as challenge ideas given by others in the group.

More misunderstandings among the team members

When miscommunications tend to occur frequently in a team, leading to conflicts and misunderstandings, the team might need to work on their collaborative skills. Good collaboration refers to proper communication with mutual trust & respect between members.

Tasks are not assigned equally

The team has to share the workload equally. In many organizations, we can see a few people tasked with the major chunk of the work. At the same time, many others are seen to be idling away their time. This is a matter of improper task delegation.

This scenario happens when there is bad collaboration in the team. When this happens, it leads to grumbling and resentment by overworked employees, leading to further conflicts.

There is too much focus on individuals

A collaborative team functions as a single unit. They face both successes and failures together. When there is a lot of focus on individual members, it destroys the team cohesion. This can be both in positive and negative situations. When individuals are given more importance than the team as a whole, this can be a sign of bad collaboration in the organization.

Conflicts are not resolved immediately

While teamwork can lead to many positive things like productivity, increased engagement and employee happiness, it can also lead to negative occurrences. Conflicts are guaranteed to arise in a team, even the most highly bonded ones. In effective collaboration, conflicts are welcomed and resolved immediately.

However, conflicts not being resolved immediately can be a sign of bad collaboration. Not resolving conflicts as soon as they come can foster a hostile environment in the team. It can also lead to further conflicts among the staff.

Team members are not clear on goals and roles

A collaborative team is a group of members who work intimately with each other to achieve a common goal. They also share the same vision and the set of values. If team members are not clear about the goals they need to achieve, the work process will not be smooth.

This can also be a sign of bad collaboration in the workplace.  It is not just the common goals but also the individual ones that have to be well-aligned.

Deadlines are not reached in time

Reaching deadlines on time are a sign of good teamwork and great work efficiency. When there is ineffective collaboration in the team, deadlines and milestones tend to be missed or delayed. This is not only because of communication issues among the staff, but also problems in project management and task assignment.

There is no empathy among the members

Empathy might sometimes seem like a topic not so suitable for the corporate world. However, empathy leads to productivity and business profits as a result. When team members do not show empathy to their colleagues, it can affect productivity. Employees in the team might not feel valued or heard and might decrease their productivity or quit the team altogether.

More employees are leaving the organization

If the turnover is unusually high in the organization, it can be a sign of bad collaboration among teams. High turnover is not always due to management issues or bad work policies. Bad collaboration can also contribute highly to this. Due to the wrong collaboration practices being followed, employees might leave the organization because they cannot work effectively in the group setting.

What can bad collaboration do to the organization?

Bad collaboration can have many detrimental effects to an organization’s culture and also to the business aspects. When there is bad collaboration in the workplace, the following issues can happen:

Poor team morale

Bad collaboration can directly affect team morale and team cohesion. Employees will get stressed as they are not able to work in a productive environment. They would find it difficult to achieve the goals set for them and also their personal career goals. When there is poor team morale, the work atmosphere itself becomes toxic and productivity suffers.

Project management issues

Since collaboration tools themselves are commonly used for project management, project execution can decrease in quality if bad collaboration is practiced. This can happen when there is poor interaction between the team members. It can also happen when the wrong collaboration tool has been implemented or if the chosen tool is not used in the right manner.

Increased risk of hacking

Digital collaboration tools are becoming quite popular and a necessity in the workplace. However, they also can lead to sensitive information being leaked and confidential data getting stolen.

This happens when the right collaboration tool with strong security features is not being used. It can also happen when team members themselves turn against the organization due to a toxic work culture, strongly set due to bad collaboration.

Inadequate employee engagement

Due to bad collaborative practices, employee engagement can also decrease in the organization. When there is poor employee engagement, productivity also falls as the workload is not shared effectively. It can also lead to further conflicts and poor team cohesion among the staff.

Signs of good collaboration in the workplace

A workplace that implements effective collaborative practices shows the following signs:

There are high levels of interaction in the team

The team members tend to communicate regularly and frequently with each other. This can be about issues not related to the workplace as well. They would talk about their personal lives, opinions and feelings, all in a productive and professional manner.

The team is clear about its goals

When there is effective collaboration, goals are not just well-set and clear but also smart in nature. The goals also tend to be aligned with the individualities and personal goals of the members. This of course can happen only when everyone knows each other properly. When the team members are clear about the goals, they tend to work in a productive and efficient fashion.

The members openly share ideas and opinions

Effective collaboration leads to a healthy exchange of ideas in the workplace. Though idea-sharing might lead to a difference in opinions, it might also lead to great innovations and ideas from organizations.

Conclusion

This article has focused on bad collaboration in the workplace. We have discussed the various signs of bad collaboration and what it can do in the workplace. In addition, we have also looked at the signs of good collaboration in the workplace.

Frequently asked questions: (What does bad collaboration look like?)

What is negative collaboration?

Negative collaboration is when the collaboration intended to happen at an organization is counter-productive. Though the team may be working towards a shared goal, the collaborative practices or tools may hinder their work processes and productivity.

This can happen when there is no specific goal for the collaboration, ineffective leadership, toxic work culture or simply the wrong method of collaboration.

What causes decreased collaboration?

There are two main reasons for decreased or bad collaboration. These are:

Uncertain goals

When the team members are not clear about the goal of collaboration, their participation in the process will decrease. It also leads to a decrease in productivity. Goals should be set by the team with everyone understanding the roles they play in it properly. Only when the goals are specific, the collaboration takes place smoothly.

Lack of leader advocacy

Collaboration is best implemented from a top-down process. When the leaders strongly advocate and implement good collaborative practices, the team members automatically take them up. However, if the leaders don’t practice good collaboration in their day-to-day work lives, the team will also be hesitant to implement these practices.

Can collaboration be forced?

Though collaboration is essential for an organization, it cannot be forced on employees. For collaboration to be effective, it has to become a part of the organizational culture itself. And thus, team members need to take an active role in the process. When collaboration is forced on the team members, the following scenarios can take place:

Team members become hesitant to collaborate

Since it is being forced as a part of an organization’s policy, team members won’t be fully accepting of collaborative measures. They might become hesitant to collaborate and interact with each other. Thus, forcing collaboration on team members will lead to a decrease in collaboration itself.

Bad collaborative practices might follow

When something is forced in the workplace, employees might take it up but use it in the wrong way. This can be applied for collaboration itself. Employees might misuse collaboration tools and practices for something other than the intended goals. They might also not use collaboration effectively.

If you like this article, post your questions or comments below.

Citations

https://slack.com/intl/en-in/blog/collaboration/good-collaboration-bad-collaboration-a-new-report-by-slack
https://front.com/blog/what-does-good-collaboration-actually-look-like
https://www.ringcentral.com/us/en/blog/collaboration-in-the-workplace/
https://www.teamwork.com/blog/5-reasons-collaboration-fails/

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