Three Keys to Collaboration

When we enter the workplace, many of us want to take ownership of our position and its inherent challenges. But any successful leader will tell you that working alone will get you nowhere. If you truly desire your personal success to be transformational and have a greater effect, then you need to be willing to work with others, develop a team, and share both the successes and failures.

These three concepts will help you understand how to develop collaboration within your organization. Making sure you and your colleagues “play nice with each other” and work toward a common goal is the best way to achieve a desired goal.

Trust

It does not always matter what a person’s motivations are; that’s not for you to discern. What you need to be concerned with is moving the project and the organization forward. If you can engage and excite, you’re winning half the battle.

If you have a decent team, then nobody working in it wants the organization to fail. They may have different skill sets, experiences or competencies, but everyone at their core wants to succeed and be part of a “winning” team. Entrust and build onto that foundation, which can be extremely powerful — but be strategic and identify who are the key members of your team for the task at hand.

Communication

Invite others into your world of ideas. Tell them what you are working on, and don’t try to jealously guard it. It is within this initial communication that you can learn quite a bit about opportunities to collaborate to produce a more powerful product. It is also through communicating a concept that you are able to develop and mold an idea.

But you also have to listen. The person you have shared with might have some powerful and appropriate feedback for your project. They may even be working on something quite similar, and so it is worthwhile to sit silently and hear what another party thinks — because, again, you both are interested in the organization’s success.

Professional Empathy

Effective communication also creates something that is vital to continued effective collaboration: professional empathy. It allows you to understand what other people’s jobs and skills are, even if it isn’t in your wheelhouse. This allows you to identify key colleagues for you to work with depending on what your current project is and also makes it easier for you to understand how to work with different individuals.

Be considerate, kind, and willing to do the work and you will successfully move your project forward and be a transformational member of your organization.


Dr. Jeffrey McCausland, Founder and CEO of Diamond6 Leadership & Strategy, LLC is a retired Army Colonel with over 30 years of unique and challenging leadership experiences. As a retired military officer and veteran, Jeff’s work has taken him all over the world serving in a variety of command and staff positions in places such as the on National Security Council Staff, U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, and the Pentagon.

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