By: Ashley Edwards, Marketing Director, SHRCCI
"Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others." - Marshall Goldsmith
Collaboration means valuing the gifts each individual brings to the table, it means keeping a perspective that is global and a spirit that is inclusive. It means encouraging participation from those who are often overlooked - and working to deepen understanding, awareness, and knowledge through diversity.
In business and community development - not to mention personal careers- collaboration can be a difficult idea to implement. Many of today's leaders grew up in an era when collaboration mostly meant completing your portion of set tasks, and in reality, we seldom ask for help or want to accept it. Authentic collaboration happens only when one is ready and willing to admit you don't have all the answers - and that you want and need help from others.
Collaboration is key! There are many advantages over "doing it yourself" style of management:
- You can share ideas for feedback - two heads are better than one, sharing your ideas with your team gives you feedback and new ideas.
- You are forced to stop and think about what you're doing - As you have to explain your ideas to others, you have to give those ideas a voice. Something that may sound good in our minds, might have flaws you won't see before speaking them aloud.
- You won't hit the wall so easily - especially when doing creative work, it's easy to get stuck. Collaborating and brainstorming with others will help you.
Tips on working towards the collaboration method:
- Observe and consider whether work environment are helping or hindering collaboration.
- Work on moving from a posture of "I" to "We" in both your words and approach. People will forget what you say but not how you make them feel.
- Create physical spaces so that individuals are not isolated when they are working on serious problems. Replace them with energizing areas that offer easy access to others with different ideas.
- Give up control and total ownership of processes and projects to allow collaboration to flourish.
- Listen harder and more than you speak. Be open to learning and having your views questioned. Be transparent.
- Recognize others successes and just as importantly their losses. Be vulnerable in expressing your needs and develop trust with each other.
- Be patient. The collaboration process can take longer, but you get a better solution in the long run.