Collaboration is a key competency for many people in leadership roles. Working together to create an outcome can be rewarding and fulfilling, when done well. Collaboration is one way that synergy is demonstrated in the workplace.
There are three key behaviors to collaboration that are essential to making it mutually beneficial for all parties. The first is listening to others and the second is respecting others. The third and final one is accepting. When these three behaviors are present in the collaboration, it is highly likely that the interaction will be conflict free and pleasant for all.
Listening is critical when collaborating in order to be clear and on the same page with others. Listening takes the forms of active, empathetic and comprehensive.
Active listening is also known as reflective listening. Paraphrasing what has been said ensures understanding for everyone. It can be done easily when the person listening is focused on understanding, rather than their reply. The person’s non-verbals also go a long way in conveying that they are actually paying attention and listening.
Empathetic listening is simply being present and giving attention to the emotions associated with what is being said. Being in alignment with the emotions of what is being said can go along way in building trust in a collaborative relationship.
Comprehensive listening requires a higher level of giving attention to what is being said. In order to take on new information, people must listen with understanding in mind. There is a deeper level of listening when people are expected to retain and work with information that is shared with them.
When setting up a collaborative working relationship, it is essential to build respect. Respect is important when it comes to listening to others’ opinions, ideas and experience. Part of the collaborative relationship is to create a better outcome by working together with others and with this in mind, it is vital to listen to their opinions the subject matter.
Respect for others’ ideas will ensure the relationship will grow and develop in appropriate ways. When people feel heard and valued by being respected, they are more likely to share their ideas and opinions more openly. The success of the collaborative relationship can made or broken by how people are feeling respected or not.
When people work together, they want to feel like they have something of value to offer to others. One way that they can do that, is to share their experiences. Theirs are unique to them and when they share them, they may inspire or motivate others to take on similar opportunities for their own experiences.
Accepting in a collaborative relationship cannot be under emphasized in terms of importance. Accepting others is a foundation of any relationship especially a collaborative one. People want to feel included and a part of something and when they are accepted, this comes to be their experience. When they feel accepted, they are more likely to participate and contribute fully.
Reality is something that must be accepted when working in a collaborative relationship. It is simply staying present and not making up stories that would otherwise get in the way of creating successful outcomes.
Collaborative relationships might be between a couple of colleagues or can be a full team of associates. In either case, the behaviors and principles that guide the development and successful outcomes of a collaborative relationship are the same. The keys to any successful collaborative relationship include listening, respecting and accepting. With these three behaviors in focus the outcomes will certainly be excellent.