Want to Get Better at Collaboration? Try Suspending Your Ego.

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When Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones got together 45 of America’s top musicians to record the charity song “We Are The World”, they had to make sure self-pride would be toned down. Artists were greeted by a sign pinned to the door of the recording studio: “Please check your egos at the door. We’re here for a better purpose”

This incident happened in 1985. Thirty years later, we still need such signs to remind us that we’re more powerful as a team than as individuals. Acknowledging other people’s input and showing support can help you find resources you’ve never dreamed of.

Ego usually is a mix between pride and self-doubt. Those two things make you feel and act like you’re the hub of the Universe. And this leads to isolation from your peers.

In today’s organizations, no one can hold all the answers, so reaching out to your colleagues is often a smarter thing to do. Collaboration can boost your career. You get to benefit from other people’s ideas and points of view, while others learn from your creativity and experience.

“Learning happens both up and down, and refusal to acknowledge this surely can’t bode well for a company in the long term,” Stanton Kawer writes on HubMagazine. “The biggest danger in operating this way is that by failing to foster a culture of sharing internally you may not be poised to connect effectively externally”

Some tips on what to start with

If you feel your ego should be dimmed, there are a few things you can apply:

It’s not me, it’s us. Learning how to listen will help you score points within your team. Try to hear them carefully and make sure that everyone has a voice. Sometimes, even the ones that you value less in your team can pop vivid ideas. Take a step backwards, forget about your own goals and look at the big picture.

Listen, and listen again. Dale Carnegie said that contradicting people doesn’t build relationships. They just put them in fighting mode. Better ask them “Why do you think it’s like that?” Try to follow their logic and see specifically where the problem is.

–Accept them. We all can say both good and bad things about each other. Collaboration can bring the best in all of us. We’re different, some like to work under pressure, while others prefer the quietness of their home and a flexible schedule.

—Make people feel comfortable around you. Often, the ego-centred guys make introverts feel insecure. There’s nothing worst than an inaccessible partner, someone you need to heavily prepare before you talk to, weighing every single word.

There are plenty of benefits when collaboration is used at its best, starting from higher value products and ending with having a normal life, burn out-free.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, it acts like a catalyst. There’s always something to learn from others and it’s a good feeling to give back to society once you reach a certain level in your career.

Don’t hold back your ideas, hold back your ego. And…

Happy Knowledge Sharing!


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