Your co-workers will quickly dismiss you if they perceive you are not working as part of the team.

The workplace can be harsh. People form opinions of each other based on what they observe regularly. I hear it all the time from my clients.

Some people feel that to get recognized, they need to take credit for the work others do. What really happens is that they get the recognition, at that moment, until the truth comes out.

In other cases, people become very protective of their work and won’t share any information that may be relevant to a co-worker. Again, a desire to get noticed motivates this insecurity and a reluctance to allow someone else to gain more recognition than them.

Such behaviour is outdated and ends up hurting the employee in the long term. These attitudes also hurt the organization. It’s very frustrating internally when departments operate in silos. It leads to teams not knowing what the other is working on, efforts to become misaligned and priorities that contradict each other.

Who suffers in these situations? Your customers – almost 100% of the time and definitely the employees who are responsible for creating a positive customer experience. They end up having to deal with barriers to getting their work done on a regular basis. They have to fight an uphill battle just to do their job. No wonder they are frustrated and disengaged.

The customers, the company, and their employees will all benefit when they work together. So, what does it really mean to collaborate? How do you collaborate?

How to Become An Effective Collaborator

Here are five quick tips on how to be a great collaborator.

1. Understand how your role contributes to the customers’ experience. You may or may not be serving your customer directly – just know that all efforts do impact their experience.

Understand from your co-workers what takes place before and after you get involved.

Then, verify the needs of those with whom you interact. Find out what they need from you and let them know what you need from them to be able to do your collective jobs better.

2. Know how your job impacts others. Make sure you ask for their thoughts before you make a change that will affect them. Confirm the draft of the change with them, before you implement it. Then follow-up to ensure it is working well.

(You’d be surprised how often decisions are made in one area that ends up having a huge, negative impact on another area and no one bothered to consider anyone else when they made the change. We don’t understand why we are not supported when we are trying to do something positive for the company. We have no idea that we just created big problems for another person or department.)

3. When working on a new project, try to include others’ ideas and suggestions. When you implement them, make sure you publicly thank those who contributed.

4. When you complete a project or major initiative, conduct a debrief with those who were either involved or impacted, asking them what worked well and what could be done to improve it. Do not get defensive, just listen, verify your understanding and thank the participants for their helpful feedback.

5. Be available. If someone asks you for help, feedback or suggestions make time for them and help them.

Collaboration will give you recognition and visibility

You will gain far more respect and acceptance from your co-workers simply because you showed them that they add value, that they are important and that they matter. It will also build trust, and they will be more open to supporting you and acknowledging your efforts in the future.

Relationship intelligence is a non-negotiable skill everyone needs to have in the workplace.

Collaboration is one of the tools to help you have relationship intelligence.


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