By Laura Stevens
Collaboration – when it works, when it doesn’t, and why we all need it.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
Michael Jordan, Former Professional Basketball Player
Love thy co-worker may not be a popular workplace mantra, but studies have shown that employees who feel valued and supported by managers and staff perform better, treat fellow employees and customers better, and have a greater sense of company loyalty. According to a report published in the Administrative Science Quarterly, psychologists consider companionate love, or feelings of affection, compassion and tenderness toward others, as “a basic emotion fundamental to the human experience.” Thus, it makes sense that we would thrive on this type of emotional support in the workplace, just as we would anywhere else.
One way to foster compassion at work is through collaboration. Besides the obvious benefit that comes from pooling the talents of many to create a more dynamic, positive outcome, there are emotional benefits as well. These include increased self-confidence, greater job satisfaction and a higher level of caring among co-workers.
Despite the advantages of collaborating, there are definitely times when getting along takes a backseat to getting it done. An effective manager can determine whether collaboration is crucial to a desired outcome, or if assigning solo tasks would be more productive.
When in the planning stages of a project, consider these three important factors to decide if, or how much, collaboration is needed:
• Complexity. Projects often have lots of moving parts. If you have a good sense of the scope from the onset, you’ll be able to determine who and what is needed, and ultimately save time and keep the project moving as the deadline approaches.
• Deadline. Too often, we set unrealistic deadlines because we don’t account for unexpected snags and delays. Build extra time into your deadline if possible, and don’t forget to account for the time needed to communicate with your team.
• Expertise needed. Determine whether you need active participation or just key input from co-workers, internal departments or external contributors. Your consideration will be much appreciated.
Laura Stevens is a marketing communications writer and content strategist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin.
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