Tips for Collaborating in the Workplace
In his famous one-hit-wonder “Ice, Ice, Baby,” Vanilla Ice tells us to “Stop, collaborate and listen.” It’s catchy and there’s also some truth to what he’s saying.
Collaboration is an important workplace practice. Whether you’re giving a supervisor your input on a new program or you’re building out a proposal for a potential new client, collaboration is key.
When you collaborate you go from working with just one set of talents and capabilities to gaining access to many, and you can turn good effort into great effort.
According to Gwyn Teatro, author of the blog “You’re Not the Boss of Me” those who collaborate, and do it well, usually:
- Engage and enjoy conversation
- Find ways to draw out creativity in themselves and others
- Seek to learn
- Invite others to contribute and don’t judge what is offered
- Focus on others’ recognition before their own
- Can handle disagreement with professionalism
Collaboration is not easy. The main goal of any collaborative effort is to understand how the success of the project goes beyond the success of ourselves. Instead of finding satisfaction in the individual work, it means we have to find success in the overall effort of the group or team.
This might be easier for extroverts who tend to be more outgoing and forward with their ideas. Those individuals who tend to be shy are more likely to have trouble adjusting to group collaboration. But like public speaking, the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Here are some ways to insure collaboration can be successful on anything you do at GCS:
- Be sure to have both open and private space available to discuss projects. If a project is being performed by a large group, then an open space is more suitable for discussion and idea-generation. If it’s a smaller project where contributors must voice their opinions, a more private area might be appropriate and more comfortable for team members.
- Let collaboration develop naturally. It doesn’t always have to be in a formal meeting. It can be through an email chain, on a lunch break or general conversation.
- Be sure those involved have time to develop ideas. Individuals need time to develop their work. Ideas need time to grow.
- Don’t underestimate the quiet members of the group. Just because they might not speak up a lot doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable ideas. After all, the work starts with the individual.
The next time you’re faced with a project at work, school, church or for some other venture, say “Yo! I’ll solve it” and try collaborating with others to get it off the ground. The generating of ideas and creative approach to the problem-solving process will be mutually beneficial and the outcome will be a win for all.
Tips from Genevieve DeGuzman
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