In today’s connected world, collaboration is fundamental to career success. No single individual can deliver a service or a product by themselves. It is always a combined effort, a team effort.
Over the past years, I’ve gained a lot of experience from collaborating with many individuals, and I would like to share with you some of the insight.
You need a certain mindset in order to become a good collaborator. How often have heard or said this about a person? “He/She is not a team player”.
What are some of the characteristics of an antagonist?
- They find teamwork time consuming and distracting,
- They are a perfectionist and cannot trust others to do a good job,
- They always think they know best,
- They don’t like to share praise with other people,
- Underlying personal issues.
Whatever their motivation, such people can drain your energy. What can be done? You can’t avoid these people, as they are part of many organizations out there. What you can do is find better ways to collaborate with them.
Developing a collaborative mindset will offer you a lot of resources to deal with antagonistic people.
How do you collaborate better?
Look at the big picture
Spend some time figuring out how your job fits and adds value to your organisation. Understand what is best for the organisation as a whole. Then, you can use this information as a foundation for your decision-making. When others understand your decision-making process, therefore, your actions, they will be more likely to be cooperative.
You must be prepared to make sacrifices, because sometimes you may have to give up what is best for you for the greater good of others. When coworkers will see you make sacrifices, you will earn their trust and respect. Great news, if you’re aspiring to a leadership position.
A good collaboration with other requires open-mindedness. You need to listen carefully and understand other perspectives. Learning to take into account multiple points of view will help you come up with complex and healthy solutions, even when dealing with tough problems.
You will need to offer appropriate and comprehensive feedback to people. Choosing the right channels of communication for your feedback is also important. Keep in mind that most of the times face-to-face interactions are the best, while in some instances a quick note can be enough to convey your message.
Remember to embrace every opportunity to improve your communication skills.
Develop a Growth Mindset
You will not have all the answers when working on a project. So, you must be prepared to do the research needed, ask questions, listen to others and try different things out.
Look for innovative ways to develop “win-win” solutions, it will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the team. It will also increase your chances to be noticed by the right people. Win-win.
You will have to be mindful of how you respond to others in the team. Don’t react to irritating or bad behavior, but be respectful at all times. If these bad behaviours affect you, call those behaviours out and address them. Learn to give constructive feedback.
Stay calm under pressure. Calmly prioritise tasks and communicate them clearly to the team members. Focus on getting things done one at a time before moving to the next thing on the agenda.
When you notice questionable decisions being made, you will need to stand up and address them. Keep the big picture in mind, it will help you decide what battles to pick. This proactive behaviour is a great leadership skill to have and it will also earn you respect points with your coworkers.
As you can see, a collaborative mindset requires some practice. Work towards building this mindset and you will develop crucial leadership skills, as well.
There will be bumps along the way, use them as learning experiences.
Wish you all a successful career.
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