Teamwork and collaboration

Understanding the Differences Between Teamwork and Collaboration

Thursday 30 August, 2018

Both teamwork and collaboration enable employees to work together efficiently to complete tasks and reach targets quicker.  Having a good understanding of the differences between the two will help you to choose the option most suited to the task.

Creating an environment that encourages everyone to work together can have a big impact on your team’s performance.  Finding the correct balance between autonomous working, teamwork and collaboration will help to play to each person’s individual strengths to keep the workforce engaged and efficient.

Understanding the differences between teamwork and collaboration can help you to identify which option is more suited to different tasks and individuals to maximise productivity in the civil service.

Teamwork Vs Collaboration

Both teamwork and collaboration involve a group of people working together to complete a shared goal.

The key difference between the two is that whilst teamwork combines the individual efforts of all team members to achieve a goal, people working collaboratively complete a project collectively.  Those collaborating work together as equals, usually without a leader, to come up with ideas or make decisions together to complete a goal.  Whereas teamwork is usually overseen by a team leader, and those within a team are delegated individual tasks to complete to contribute towards the team’s end goal.

When to use collaboration

A Stanford study found that people working collaboratively stuck at their task for 64% longer than those working individually on the same task.  It also reported higher levels of engagement and success and lower levels of fatigue.

People collaborating must possess excellent interpersonal skills as it’s very important that every person involved contributes their ideas, opinions, and knowledge. 

Real-life examples of collaboration in the workplace include:

  • Brainstorming ideas.
  • Group discussions.
  • Reaching a consensus about processes.
  • Analysing problems and finding solutions.

When to use teamwork

With the right leadership, teamwork can help to achieve a goal more efficiently by sharing out the workload evenly and delegating tasks to those with the most suitable skill set.  Working as a part of a team can help employees to feel more engaged and motivated.

Real-life examples of times when teamwork is frequently used in the workplace include:

  • To complete a project.
  • To hit targets.
  • Group learning with individual research and team discussion.
  • Training and development.

At the Civil Service College, we offer a teamwork and collaboration course which provides in-depth insight on how to implement effective teamwork and collaboration in your workplace to achieve a more efficient working environment.



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