Collaboration has been named one of 2021’s top leadership traits by two prominent women’s leadership organizations: Women Business Collaborative and Athena International. If you want to improve your leadership skills, here’s why you should care about collaboration.
It is an easy way to bring others into the fold and create something where the sum is greater than all the parts put together. If you are already in leadership in your organization, it helps connect the people on your team together; it allows people to feel like they matter, so they feel like they are part of the team (because you know sometimes people are left out). It has positive effects on diversity, engagement, innovation and your people who work remotely.
If you aren’t in leadership yet but aspire to be, collaborating with others is a great way to garner support and demonstrate to current leadership that you have mad skills in bringing people together.
Simply put, collaboration is just bringing someone else or many others together to create something. That’s it. You bring people together to work toward a common goal.
Sounds great, right? But, how do you actually do it?
As busy female professionals, you likely know that “many hands make light work,” and collaboration is a natural extension of that. But sometimes a few tips are helpful to get you started thinking in the right direction.
Here are three tips to empower yourself and others more by fostering more collaboration.
Share your leadership
If you are in a leadership position, who can you bring along to a meeting, a project or a role? Identify others who have the potential to rise within an area of which you have oversight and encourage them to participate by sharing their ideas and suggestions. A woman I highly respect, Martha Mayhood Mertz, once said, “Sharing leadership does not mean relinquishing it, and helping others to find their power doesn’t diminish our own.”
Seek out the overlooked
You know that there are people in your organization who have been overlooked, not engaged; they don’t speak up or they get “spoken over.” Do you know what they care about? Seek them out and ask for their advice or input. Remember, not everyone is comfortable communicating in front of others, so instead of asking, “Hey, Katie, what are your thoughts on this?” in a meeting where there are a bunch of people present, you ask Katie individually. Or you even give her an opportunity to put her thoughts together and send them to you later. Whether you are in leadership or not, this is the right thing to do.
Find out where people are coming F.R.O.M.
The easiest way to start collaborating with others is to get to know them, or as I like to say, where they are coming F.R.O.M. It’s an acronym that guides you in building relationships with people around things that they care about. This doesn’t mean you have to become “best friends,” but it allows you to get to know the people you work with as people, not just as a team member. Ask gentle questions to get to know people around Family, Recreation or what they do outside of work, their Occupation or role, and what they value or spend their Money on. It might be a piece of jewelry, a magazine or a movie they saw.
Collaboration is an amazing thing because it allows people to believe in each other, and I think we could use a little bit more of that these days. It allows us to get to know each other and value each other because we get to share our gifts. Who will you reach out to today?
Until next time, here’s wishing you the clarity, and collaboration skills, you deserve!