Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Divya Parekh (USA).

Around the turn of the 15th century, John Donne penned his famous poem that started out with the line, “No man is an island.” Donne used the poem to explain how life has people intertwined together in all aspects of life. The connectivity is a great lesson for a professional in any career or organisation. While effective collaboration is the key to propelling a particular project or an entire business forward, it is also significant in advancing your career.

Collaboration

In any business or organisation, you need to work with others. They could be employees, clients, consultants, the management team, etc. Frankly, the list can be endless depending on what your company does. I have seen people grudgingly take on collaboration opportunities in a spirit of distrust. A negative attitude is a wrong approach as working with others can greatly enhance the career options presented to you in the future.

You could be collaborating with different people in a group effort. Within your company, it could be someone higher up the hierarchical ladder, a peer, or someone who reports to you. As you should realise by now, a company’s personnel are subject to change. People leave, move up, and, at times, might leapfrog a couple of rungs on the corporate ladder. The point is, whoever you work with during a collaborative project could be in a position now or in the future to help you with your career aspirations. Collaboration is the key to building your circle of influence. People see how you work and how you interact with others. They learn what your abilities are regarding leadership, communication, technical knowledge, etc.

Teamwork principle also comes into play if you are working with others outside of your company. When you are efficient, authentic, and genuinely support others to succeed, you are demonstrating character and talent. Good companies are always looking for great talent. Leaders keep a database of people they meet or work with who impress them. That is also a great concept to adopt for yourself. With the dynamics of many businesses changing rapidly, you could find yourself in a position of needing people right away to help you in your responsibility. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of “go to” people you worked closely with in some fashion that you can connect with when you find yourself in a position to hire talented people?  

Competency

Working with others on a specific project allows you to sharpen your skill set. I am going to share a verse that my friend talked about: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Whenever you pull two or more people together to work on something, you are giving them the chance to learn from one another. Leverage these opportunities with a learning mindset because it allows you to gain knowledge about other facets of business operations.  The biggest benefit of working with others is the privilege of forming healthy relationships with others.

For example, you are in marketing and brought into a collaboration where you are routinely dealing with IT matters. IT might not be in your wheelhouse, but after working on the project for a while, you find yourself absorbing the lessons from the IT technicians. Before you know it, you have a working knowledge of how IT works and that sets you up for a promotion that requires some familiarity with IT issues. Without being a member of that cross-functional team, you would never have been in the running for the new position.

Confidence

While achieving the desired goal of the collaborative group, a by-product is that every member of a successful endeavour should grow in ability and confidence. The confidence strengthens from the newest member up to the leader of the group. Confidence is one of those intangibles in life and in business needed for anyone to move up to the next level. While some people seem to radiate a natural confidence in everything, for most of us confidence comes with success. When you accomplish something, it is like a child on an Easter egg hunt. The more he or she collects Easter eggs in their basket, the happier they are and the more eggs they are able to find.

Even if you are not the head of the collaborative team, you can benefit yourself greatly by exercising your leadership to the team. That means you have to understand your role in motivating, removing barriers, and providing the right amount of knowledge and support for your team to accomplish its goal. Take the initiative to present alternative solutions to whatever issues the team faces. Others will now perceive you as someone who thinks outside of the box and working for the good of the team. When you view and live your life through the lens of servant leadership, people recognise and appreciate you and your work ethics they have experienced during collaboration.  As a result, people become your champions and support you in your career advancement by sharing relevant opportunities with you and advocating you to others.

Summation

The relationships you foster through collaboration are invaluable to your future success as an individual. When you mindfully apply all of your skills, talents, and leadership ability in a group effort, you are showcasing your capability as a team player and somebody to be counted on when given responsibility. Whether you are an employee of an organisation consisting of 10 people or 10,000, these attributes are in high demand. People recognise your contribution to team success and believe you are someone to be part of the advancement program or succession planning of the company. Thus, collaboration leads to meaningful relationships as well as organic career advancement.

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