In 2020, we talked about how unprecedented the world was and by 2021 we talked about how things had become. And now, in 2022 we have flipped into a new narrative and the word of the day is Collaboration with a capital C.
Companies are hailing it as the accelerator of productivity and the saviour for teams working in a hybrid environment. Yet after a year of collaborative efforts, many team members are brutally honest and saying the jury is still out on whether or not it will, in fact deliver on its promise of long term results and happiness. Here’s why :
For a start you only have to think back to your own school days when the teacher put you in groups of 4 or 6 to do projects together. There were always those who did the lion’s share of the work because they liked to take control as opposed to those who enjoyed the informal bantering and playing around which could mean details or deadlines being missed. Remember how frustrating it was to try and get everyone to listen to what you had to say and follow your ‘great idea’? Kids talked or yelled over each other, didn’t really listen intently and while others were so looking forward to lunch and a kick of the footy it didn’t really matter to them what you did as long as they ‘passed’, that was good enough.
Well, today’s groups or teams can fall into similar patterns of behaviour if the right collaboration ground rules are not established and personality styles and strengths not respected. And given the hybrid workplace now, it can be more challenging than ever to harness the collective energy and skills of people whom we don’t know, don’t see or don’t understand.
Here are some tips to help you and your team thrive when collaborating:
- Acknowledge how you like to work and what brings out the best in you – identify when you are at your best and what helps or hinders you.
- Make it easy for others to understand so they remember what is important for you. Ask others what is important for them
- Be easy to work with when you are in disagreement – Don’t get personal or defensive. Remember we all have different styles – different is not better – it’s just different!
- Respect each other’s reputation, IP and professional experience to trust the quality of the work people will generate.
- Give people space to create their best work – some need more time than others.
- Give feedforward rather than feedback if things aren’t working for whatever reason and do so in a timely way.
- Commit to what the tasks are, completion dates and any changes in the scope of the project so others know what is going on. Don’t assume people know your stresses, frustrations, or what is going on behind the scenes.
- Be willing to learn from each other’s perspectives and rethink your first level responses then go deeper.
- Share your authentic views and encourage others to do the same. Your goal is to help others feel safe in sharing their priorities and needs.
- If two heads are not necessarily better than one, call it and move on. Don’t disrupt the energy or intent of others.
About the author : Ricky Nowak
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