Recognizing & Resolving Barriers to Collaboration

February 13, 2018

Research indicates that companies with better collaborative management capabilities achieve superior financial performance.

 

Realize that silos can kill your business

Silo mentality is a mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture. 

  • Do you have knowledge hoarders in your organization?

 

Poor Communication

While good communication can foster teamwork, poor communication is a barrier to developing a productive work atmosphere. Staff members who will not communicate or are unaware of the proper communication channels to use within the team, can create breakdowns that inhibit team development. Managers need to be aware of the double-edged sword of team communication.

  • Are you able to identify when poor communication is hampering your group's success?

  • Do you foster open communication between colleagues?

 

Unclear Goals

A work team is created to achieve goals within the workplace. Those goals can be for a specific project, or they can be the ongoing goals that define the department's responsibilities. When those goals are not presented clearly by management, or the individual responsibilities of each team member in achieving those goals are unclear, then the team cannot work effectively. 

  • Do you provide clarity around project objectives, the process being used and the expectations of each involved?

 

Lack of Managerial Involvement

Managers create teams of qualified staff members in order to complete predetermined tasks or projects. But when the manager cannot find the time to be involved in the team's execution of its duties, the ability to create an atmosphere of effective teamwork is threatened. Every team needs a leader.

  • Are you present to delegate responsibility and act as a resource to team members?

  • When you engage others to work on a team project, are you yourself engaged as an active contributor?

 

Ego

Teams that contain members who are not working for the general benefit of the group will have a difficult time developing into an effective unit. Individual staff members are assigned roles within a team, but if the staff members feel that they can take on other roles and interfere in the work of their teammates, then the group dynamic is threatened.

  • Do your team members keep their egos in check and work on their assigned tasks to help develop an effective team?

 

Dominance

The most outspoken and quickest thinkers often dominate group discussion. While their input may be valuable, they don’t represent all of what the group has to say and often not the best of what the group has to offer.

  • Do you use small groups for more intimate discussions and debrief their work in the large group?

  • Do you call on those who have not spoken or go around the room to hear everyone’s idea or input

 

Organizational/Bureaucratic

Even if in the same building, floor or room, collaborating with someone of a different department or level might be difficult. Failing to make the shift from a bounded, within-group mindset to a cross-group mindset can mean the demise of your chances to excel, both for your organization and personally. The inability to understand the motivations and needs of other areas in the same organization, or feeling uncomfortable discussing current projects and initiatives with them can create a huge disconnect.

  • Are middle managers able to look up?

  • Are senior managers incapable of seeing down?

 

Can you recognize some of these barriers in your organization? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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