Collaboration is equality of power

“Collaboration is about all parties knowing what needs to be done. It’s about equality of understanding and power and knowledge.” – MC Munro

What an interesting statement this is. It got me thinking about its meaning.

“Collaboration is about all parties knowing what needs to be done”

Yes, and communication plays a key part in this occurring.  If one party has knowledge of what needs to be done and doesn’t share it, that’s not collaboration.

If one party has information on a risk or an issue that isn’t discussed and raised early enough in the project lifecycle, then that isn’t collaboration.

Sharing the details of what needs to be done across a team so that everyone is aware of the task at hand: the full task at hand, IS collaboration.  That way there can be support provided by other team members, be that in the form of advice or assistance on smarter or easier ways of doing things, or physically by others chipping in to complete tasks because they have the capacity to do so.

“It’s about equality of understanding…”

Understanding that reaches to personalities; how others work, they way that they like to receive information, for example.

Understanding means that if someone is working long hours, they need to be supported, not criticized for not delivering.  They need to be asked if there is any help that they can be given by you, or others.

There needs to be understanding that everyone is working on the same side, the same team, delivering for the same outcome.

It is about ensuring that everyone has the same level of information that is needed for them to perform at their best.   This might mean that different people need information or messaging delivered in a different way, not more of or less than others, just differently.

“…equality of power…”

Equality of power is all about everyone feeling that they are equally informed, equally involved, and equally a part of the end outcome.

There are no power games being played by any one person involved in the collaboration.  This might be the hardest part of the whole collaboration piece.  What is needed for you to feel powerful in your own right?  Powerful without diminishing anyone else’s power?

“…equality of knowledge.”

Knowledge is one of the key things that impact on a person’s feeling of power.

And haven’t we come full circle in this study of collaboration and what it means based on this quote.

Communication that is open and builds trust is at the heart of all collaboration. Respect for the individuality and differences of each and everyone involved is required.  With it you have collaboration, without it you have… chaos, dissent, difficulty delivering.



Written by Karen Munro

This article was first published on LinkedIn.

*Photo courtesy of hin255 from