Why Is Collaboration So Hard?

Two geese with one acting in an aggressive posture

From the time we started school we were taught to work hard, study hard, do our best and we will get ahead. Then when the best technician becomes a manager all of that has to be turned on its head. Why?

A manager is rewarded not by how well he or she performs, but by how well the team performs. The manager is no longer graded on being a great technician, but on being able to transfer skills and help others to be the best they can be, and to help the team to function at top efficiency and effectiveness.

So, what is a manager to do? Promote collaboration.

Not all employees can become eagles like that top performer. The group is made up squirrels, foxes, rabbits and fish. No matter how hard the manger tries the fish will never fly and the eagle will never swim. However, by bringing the team together, the entire operation can improve.

What does it take to really promote collaboration?

It starts at the top. For a group that may mean you. For a midlevel manager that means with you and your managers. For the executive that means with your organizational leadership team.

What do you do to promote collaboration?

  1. If senior management is truly on board they will demonstrate it and others will learn by example.
  2. You need to promote leadership that demonstrates that collaboration is truly valuable.
  3. Incorporate activities that are collaborative in nature and incorporate these behaviors in what will be evaluated in performance in the future.
  4. Relationships are key. Set aside time to build and foster relationships.
  5. Listen and promote listening with open ended questions to bring others into the process.
  6. Engage project managers that focus on building strong cross-functional teams.
  7. Recognize and reward those that demonstrate best practices with collaborative behaviors.

It is even possible to turn a crises with another party into a collaboration. This is more complex, but similar processes apply.

Take appropriate actions with those that refuse to be collaborative or undermine the process.

What are other ideas that you have that may promote collaboration or examples that you might be willing to share?

Contact Mike Gregory to speak to your group or consult with you, and check out his website, books and helpful content on the right side of his About page. Michael Gregory, NSA, ASA, CVA, MBA and a Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court, is an international speaker that helps others resolve conflict, negotiate winning solutions and inspire leaders by emphasizing collaboration. Mike services clients business to IRS, business to business and within businesses. Mike has written 11 books including The Servant Manager, 203 tips from the best places to work in America, Peaceful Resolutions and Business Appraisals and the IRS: Five Books in One. Mike may be contacted directly at mg@mikegreg.com and at (651) 633-5311.