How Balanced Participation Improves Workplace Collaboration

Balanced Participation

Team members encourage the opinions, ideas, and involvement of others. They focus on where they can give, not take. Their respect for others’ opinions leads to a concern for their wellbeing, feeling safe at work, and having a sense of belonging. They are more committed and perform better. Balanced participation makes people feel like they matter – it’s a powerful force in creating engagement.

Balanced Participation Goals

  • Getting everyone on the same page will bring out new ideas and make everyone feel valued. 
  • Hearing other people’s viewpoints is more than an opportunity; it’s a responsibility 
  • Overcoming the “me first” attitude 
  • Listening and encouraging others protects, creates and strengthens teams.
  • Managers are working together in an environment that makes everybody feel comfortable to speak up. 
  • The company values employees’ ideas, and they encourage everyone to take part in decisions and setting goals. 
  • Encouragement, appreciation and teamwork create a motivating environment that generates happy, productive employees.

Have you ever been in a meeting where one person dominates the conversation and everyone else just sits there and agrees? That is not the collaboration that leads to high performance or innovation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 

True balanced participation is when team members encourage the opinions, ideas, and involvement of others. They make sure they include everyone in the discussion, offer feedback, ask questions, and clarify points. Especially for those who may not be as fluent in the language or who are shy about speaking up. 

When team members don’t take part in balanced ways, they are more likely to miss information or cannot communicate clearly. This is because they’re not listening to others or clarifying their own thoughts. As a result, they have less information and have to work harder to develop strategies. They end up working longer hours to compensate for their lack of organization and collaboration. 

One study examined over 150 teams at a global computer company and found that those with unbalanced participation were less productive than those with balanced participation. When people feel unengaged, they do less work or turn in poorer-quality results. Other research shows that unbalanced participation can lead teams to spend more time on tasks that aren’t priorities or that require less effort.

Team leaders who encourage balanced participation in the workplace will experience more enthusiastic team members and a better sense of team spirit. As a result, they will have greater success in getting their teams to perform as well as they can. 

They may not only be more enthusiastic than other teams, but also more productive and creative. This is because team members will feel their valued contributions increase the likelihood that they will contribute even more enthusiastically in the future. 

Build on Ideas and Suggestions of Others Team leaders can ensure their teams continue to build on ideas and suggestions of others by encouraging balanced participation in the workplace. 

This means including all team members equally in discussion, and not just those whose ideas are most often adopted by others or whose suggestions are most often carried out. 

This encourages other team members to have confidence that they, too, can have an influence on the decisions made by the group. Which increases the likelihood that they will also be willing to contribute ideas and suggestions of their own. 


With balanced participation, a team can work effectively, efficiently and meet deadlines, but also is enjoying the process. It’s where diversity of thinking and multiple perspectives create the most value, as each person, in their own way, contributes to the whole. This makes balanced participation so beneficial to a working environment.

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