Learning about Collaboration and Teamwork

Johanna Rothman asks, in a comment on my last post on Collaboration and Teamwork, “How do we build these skills? These are the “soft” skills that many of us struggle to build.”

I talk about what’s worked for me and what I’ve seen work for others:

Awareness comes first. Part of being human is that we never can really see ourselves as others see us. Getting information on the view from outside is a good starting point.

I found MBTI helped me understand that different people process information and make decisions different than I do. MBTI helped me see patterns and see how others might see me. I also like I-OPT for getting a view on how I “show up” working in groups. There are tons of other instruments, these are just two I have found useful.

Other people can be a source of information, too, though getting feedback can be tricky. My observation is that people hear feedback more effectively when

1) it is requested and

2) it comes from someone who the requestor believes has his or her best interest at heart.

That is, the feedback isn’t connected to some agenda on the giver’s part. Some managers (who are paid to give feedback as part of their job) can do this in some situations with some people. And some can’t.

Find someone you trust, who wants the best for you, but doesn’t believe you have to be like them.

Seashore ,Seashore, and Weinberg have great little book on feedback: What Did You Say? The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback. They point out that feedback is always about the giver; keep that in mind, and also remember that you are trying to get information about how other people see you.

Once you have awareness, you can make choices. You can continue with previous behaviors or add new ones.

More to come.