Pin Me

Individual Egos: Are They Barriers to Collaboration?

written by: Michael Guerrero•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/30/2010

Ever consider collaborating on a project? Are you afraid that maybe you or your partner's ego is going to get in the way of the collaboration? Give this article a look to see how egos can sometimes create barriers in collaboration and how to avoid this problem.

  • slide 1 of 6

    Ego Barriers and Collaboration

    A company meeting. If you've listened to any song or seen a collaborative piece of art you know that collaboration can be a beautiful thing. Collaboration is invaluable in the world of business because it allows for different and new ideas to take shape and offer opportunities for people to feel like they are a part of a team. It is pretty unfortunate that sometimes egos will get in the way of collaborative efforts as people start placing values on their own ideas much higher than those of others.

    Are egos barriers? That all depends on how willing you or your teammates are willing to compromise for the sake of the project and then how much compromise is too much before the project turns into something nobody wants. This article will outline a few common scenarios where egos get in the way and solutions or precautions you might take in order to avoid ego barriers.

  • slide 2 of 6

    Scenario #1

    Right off the bat, egos can be a problem because before collaboration begins, the division of power must first be settled. In an ideal world, we would be able to split the power in even portions, but this only creates confusion and arguments that cannot easily be settled. Without some leadership it is difficult to make decisions which can waste time and effort over one issue.

    Try giving someone a small percentage over the rest of the group's decision making power. This percentage is not meant to be taken too seriously as it might cause an imbalance but also not to be taken lightly because it's such a small amount of power over another person. Just remember that it is there for the sake of keeping things moving. You will also want to give this to a person who is more knowledgeable of the project or can contribute the most so that others will not feel they are acting out of bad judgment if they do not agree with the leader's decision.

    If this is already a problem in your collaborative effort or seems like it might become one, sit everyone who's involved down and discuss what can be done to make the project more agreeable to everyone involved. Calmly talking the situation out will likely provide the best results.

  • slide 3 of 6

    Scenario #2

    School board meeting. 

    If someone involved in the project feels under appreciated for their involvement it can quickly become a problem depending on a few things.

    If the person is doing the work they were assigned or volunteered for they definitely need some appreciation. A simple please and thank you here and there, or maybe a pizza day, can go a long way in preventing this sort of thing.

    If the person who is complaining is attaching themselves to the hardest working group and not contributing, you definitely need to think about either replacing them or letting them know that their work is going unappreciated because they don't deserve the appreciation.

  • slide 4 of 6

    Scenario #3

    Giving credit where credit is due is a difficult thing for us to do sometimes. This can really be hurtful if a lot of people are working on a collaborative effort and only a few people or one person gets to be recognized by name.

    Get it in writing that everyone will be recognized for their efforts. Legal documents that acknowledge this are even better. This will ensure that everyone is fairly included when the time comes. If you are the leader of the project or just the person who will be speaking on behalf the group, you can be the bigger man and include those who contributed during your presentation. This will not only make you a great person but it will make your team feel better about doing the work that's being asked of them.

    Again it all comes down to who is presenting for the project and if they have the ability to give credit where credit is due. There really is no downside to just admitting that people helped in a project.

  • slide 5 of 6

    Are Egos Really Barriers To Collaboration?

    Fatboy Company Meeting Yes and no. Yes, because egos are likely the cause of a failed collaborative effort. No, because if we see egos as barriers, we will never get around them. They can be just obstacles if we learn to work around them or even through them. Just remember that we are all human and we all want a little piece of recognition, and that it's not hard to give anyone that much.

  • slide 6 of 6


    All images are used for promotional purposes only and listed in the order they appear.