Collaboration: Sounds Lofty, Feels Good!
Problems, pain points, challenges… Let’s talk about the good stuff, the happy feelings, that great job you had where camaraderie ruled and things got done. What’s the key? Collaboration! We asked a few of our clients and partners to talk about what collaboration feels like when it’s embraced.
— By Masha Nehme, Communication and Marketing Lead, Matrix Management Institute
Respect and Good Will
“We were all treated with respect, worked as a team whenever there was a need […] when everything went into high gear. Our …[leader] trusted us to do our work well (nearly all of us had graduate degrees and were Type As who took a lot of pride in doing a good job), we always had access to him for his opinions/advice, and our infrequent staff meetings were always very productive, with plenty of brainstorming and willingness to pull together.
Everything ran like clockwork, there was plenty of support, and there was a lot of laughter and good will.”
“I remember leading one of my first staff meetings after becoming a manager. The project we were working on was brand-new, and I called the meeting to brainstorm ways in which we could approach a couple of known challenges. I started with a few ideas of my own and found everyone feverishly writing down every word I was saying. ’Wait a minute – these are just ideas, not instructions!’ I begged in frustration.
The team was not used to bosses like me and some team members questioned my competence. Eventually though, having team members fully collaborate on getting the work done paid off."
Tapping Into Talents and Knowledge
"For example, one of our interns developed a detailed process for managing project documents and took charge of ensuring that everyone followed that process. Our client quickly noticed how organized and streamlined our work was, which helped with building trust and respect – something we had been struggling with before.
And what about that intern? She knew exactly where the problem in her daily work was and found a way to solve it, which was extremely satisfying to her and to me as a team leader – my team was performing well, tapping into their talents and knowledge of their respective jobs. And no, they did not need my detailed instructions!"
A Well-Oiled Machine
“As we were planning a homecoming weekend event, jobs were assigned and sub-committees were formed; however, you never felt alone in your job. There were plenty of meetings where ideas could be vetted and suggestions made - hence, the collaboration.
….When collaboration is in place, it feels like you are part of a machine that works by combining many moving parts simultaneously. […] each individual part plays a pivotal role in creating and maintaining a well -run machine.”
Collaboration and Matrix Management 2.0™
When faced with the theoretical concept of collaboration, leaders and team members often tend to resist the mere idea of shifting from a traditional directive leadership style to a collaborative one.
Yet most people can relate to the positive realities of collaboration. They’ve had great personal experiences collaborating on school projects, home improvement projects, travel, and sports, or rewarding professional experiences collaborating on successful business initiatives.
Ready to Learn More?
Collaboration is one of the foundations of Matrix Management 2.0. If you'd like to learn more about collaborative leadership, how to overcome resistance to embracing a collaborative leadership style, and how doing so can help you improve your work on a daily basis:
- Explore our Collaborative Project Leadership workshop
Masha Nehme is the Communication and Marketing Lead for the International Matrix Management Institute. She is the editor of the Matrix Management Institute newsletter and blog, and she works with the Institute team to develop its communication and marketing strategy.