By Dan Rockwell
Two-year olds exclaim, “I’ll do it by myself.” But everything leaders hope to accomplish will eventually be done by others.
Merriam Webster defines self-reliance simply as, “reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities.”
You aren’t leading if you can do it yourself.
The dark side of self-reliance is disconnection.
Connection and collaboration are messy. It’s easier to dictate from a distance than collaborate in relationship.
Bodies around the table don’t indicate connection with the team.
Mindless compliance gives the illusion of collaboration.
3 collaboration questions:
When was the last time…
- Someone disagreed with you?
- You explored several alternatives instead of running with the first idea?
- You said, “What do you think?” (And listened deeply.)
12 collaboration skills:
- Respect for colleagues’ contributions.*
- Openness to experimenting with others’ ideas.*
- Sensitivity to how one’s actions may affect both colleagues’ work and the mission’s outcome.*
- Let others speak without interruption so that you understand their contribution. (Perhaps the toughest challenge of collaboration.)
- Declare your point of view with confidence AND willingness to learn.
- Thank people when they disagree or offer alternatives.
- Embrace new ideas. Reflect on new ideas with a “what might work” approach, before shooting ideas down.
- Develop emotional intelligence. Notice how you occur to others, for example.
- Ask open ended questions. (I asked Tom Rath, author of Strengthsfinders 2.0, about asking questions. 1:06)
- Define the problem and the goal. Explore the path forward.
- Know the strengths of fellow team members. You can’t collaborate until you know and respect what others do well.
- Have some fun. Effective collaboration is enhanced by strong relationships. Know each other’s formative stories.
“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin
Collaboration is an act of trust.
What hinders or blocks collaboration?
What leadership qualities best facilitate collaboration?
*Francesa Gino, November – December 2019 HBR
10 Simple Ways to Build a Collaborative, Successful Work Environment (Entrepreneur)
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