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The ability or inability to collaborate can make or break an organization. Teams and companies that excel at collaboration tend to work more efficiently, be more innovative, and create an engaging culture.

Here are three common barriers to collaboration to watch for with your team:


If your organization is built like a pyramid where information only flows from the top down, it’s nearly impossible to collaborate. True collaboration happens when ideas come from all sides. You can still have some structure, but the information and ideas need to flow side to side, up and down, and throughout the organization so that everyone is involved.


Collaboration requires speaking up, being visible, and having confidence in yourself. But that can be scary to employees, especially if there is a culture of shooting down or criticizing ideas. Create an environment that is safe for risk-taking to help employees overcome the fear of collaborating and communicating.


Collaborating too much is just as harmful as not collaborating at all. If employees need approval for every little idea or task, it significantly stunts productivity and creativity. Fight over-collaboration by giving employees trust and autonomy. Research has found that providing employees autonomy is the best way to build their engagement in the team. Have an open dialogue with employees about expectations and guidelines so everyone is on the same page.

Knowing these common barriers to collaboration can help you deal with issues when they come up and address red flags before they grow into bigger issues. By addressing these challenges, you can be on your way to creating a collaborative organization.

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