Collaboration is about working together towards the same goal.
Whether it’s for an internal brand launch or starting up a new company, a group of people decided to come together to achieve that aim. However, even with the best intentions, friction occurs due to ego, differing opinions or working methods, or having that one person on the team who refuses to do their fair share.
It’s easy to give up and do it on your own, but effective collaboration creates success. It’s not easy though. Collaboration is a learned skill; you need the drive to see it through. Here are five quick tips to help you (and your team) be better collaborators.
Collaboration begins with ideas, and those ideas don’t just come from you. Encourage your teammates to brainstorm together and share ideas, no matter how far-out it may seem. Make sure the session is a judgement-free zone so even the quietist will want to participate. Be patient and open. Ask questions so the person who came up with the idea not only thinks more about it, but also feel like they’re being heard.
Don’t com-block yourself.
If you’re usually the quiet one or don’t particularly enjoy sharing ideas, remember you were included on the team for a reason, and your advice is just as valid. You are there to participate, not observe. Be sure to include yourself in the process in a positive, engaging manner, which means, if you shoot down one idea, back it up with another. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you’re excluded from future discussion.
Be a facilitator, not a dictator.
Sometimes it’s easier to delegate tasks and take charge, especially if no one is stepping up to manage the logistics of a project. However, it’s better for morale and job satisfaction to encourage everyone to take part and decide on their own how they will tackle their tasks. Instead of telling people what to do, ask them what they think are the next steps in meeting the deadlines. This will invigorate your team to think critically and actively think about their plans.
It’s OK to ask for help.
That’s the whole point of collaboration — to not have to go about it alone. Google can only get you so far when you’re unsure about something. Your colleagues have their own wealth of knowledge and experience you can draw on to make sure your work will excel. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you’re interested in getting better, you’re humble and not trying to be a know-it-all, and you show a fellow teammate that you appreciate their skills enough to ask for their input.
Diplomacy will get you everywhere.
There will come times when you and your team will disagree and depending on how it’s handled, conflict may arise. This isn’t so great for keeping morale up and can lead to heated discussions that get nothing done. This is when you find your inner diplomat, remain calm and remember that tact will progress efforts further without jeopardising efficiency. Showing diplomacy demonstrates good manners and maturity — traits that will get you noticed for the right reasons.