The Employer's Expectations for Your Collaboration
"Collaboration" is a term getting a lot of attention in companies these days. The word means "working together with other people to reach a goal or solve a problem"—it's that simple.
Employers say collaborators are essential in today's workplace because very few jobs exist for "Solo" workers. Here are some characteristics of collaborators:
The skills needed for collaboration don't come naturally to some people. Three situations that might keep you from being a collaborator are described below:
1. The New Kid on the Block.
New people to a job or task should listen more than they talk so they can become comfortable with the work to be done. Not only is listening smart, but it provides answers to many questions. After learning the details needed to become an active collaborator, it's time to jump in with suggestions that might be helpful.
2. Anxiety from Working with a Group.
One reason "Solos" like to work alone is the stress they feel from being called on in groups. "Solos" hate to be put on the spot unexpectedly and may respond by shutting down, becoming defensive, or coming up with a fast answer that doesn't fit the situation. If you suffer from this group anxiety, prepare yourself on topics being discussed and make notes so you can refer to them when called on.
3. Not a Big Picture Person
Collaboration usually is associated with the big picture or the next great idea. If you aren't a big picture person, but can share expertise and practical assistance for others' big ideas, then collaborate by being supportive.
Action: Is collaboration easy or hard for you? Can you say "Yes" to each of the bullet points? Do any of the three situations described include you? What can you do to become a good collaborator before applying for a job where collaboration is required?