Collaboration vs Teamwork: What’s the Difference?

In any cooperative environment there are so many terms that you are often going to hear, and amongst these, the two most popular ones are collaboration and teamwork. Both of these play an important role in the business world, and often people confuse them to be one and the same. But the fact is that collaboration and teamwork are two different terms. But before we get to learn about the difference between collaboration and teamwork, let us get to know about both of them in brief details.

What Is Collaboration?

If you have asked a human resource professional or any CEO what elements or goals contributed to their success they would come up with quite a few corporate terms, and one such term is sure to be collaboration. Collaboration is when two or more people (usually groups) work together through thinking and idea sharing to reach a common goal. For successfully collaboration, it is important to use the best collaboration tools like ezTalks.

What Is Teamwork?

Teamwork also is very important in the corporate world and almost all businesses – big or small use teamwork. It is basically a group work where different people of that team/group work together under any circumstances offering constructive feedback and using their own skills, no matter what kind of personal relationship they may otherwise be sharing.

Collaboration vs Teamwork: What's the Difference?

The end result of teamwork or collaboration is usually the same. When there is collaboration in a group, they are working together to reach a particular goal. Each member of that group shares the same vision. Now, this is also what happens in teamwork, the members of this group also work towards reaching a certain goal. But then what are the difference between collaboration and teamwork? This is exactly what we shall discover now.

1. The roles of the team members

Collaboration – Collaboration is often mistaken as teamwork because it requires many people to work on a project together. Though there is a certain element of teamwork here, it is very different, and instead of calling it a team, it would rather be wise to refer to it as collective. Instead of having a group of people performing their own individual tasks to reach a goal, in collaboration, there is a group of people creating a collective mind in order to reach a goal or solve a problem. Thus, in collaboration efforts are made to create a single mind from a group of individual minds, indiscernible from one another. The best thing is these individuals can be members from anywhere in the world, and they get to collaborate using popular tools like ezTalks.

Teamwork – In a team or so to say in teamwork, the members retain their own individual qualities. Though they share a common goal, the members usually put in individual efforts. Just like in a baseball team, for instance, they are a group, but each member of the group has to put in their individual efforts which will benefit the team at large. Each of the players has their own responsibilities and all of them are important. Similarly, in teamwork, every member has their own role, and all of them are important. Members of a team are usually present in the same premises, and they meet as and when is needed.

2. The focus

Collaboration – in case of collaboration the focus is in the process. The act of collaboration forms and shapes the work that needs to be completed to finish a project. As the work keeps progressing the goal is better defined. You can say it to be a living document, it is flexible and dynamic.

Teamwork – The focus in case of teamwork is the goal itself, and the process is just a way to reach the end. The only way to reach this goal is to act as a team, with individual efforts from every member of the team.

3. Importance of leaders

Teamwork - Most of the time teams have a strong leader that has the authority to solve disputes and coordinates actions as well. The leader plays a very important role, and he/she has a strong responsibility of helping make a team successful.

Collaboration – Collaborators, unlike teams, do not rely on leaders to solve differences, and nor can they walk away from each other if they disagree. Collaboration is basically a strong relationship of give and take between the participants.

So, collaboration and teamwork, no matter how similar they may seem are actually different, work differently, but helps produce the same result, reach a goal together that proves beneficial for a company, and is conducive to its growth.