A key factor of successful collaboration is respecting your teammates - their views, experiences, and areas of expertise. It's about recognising the knowledge each person brings. Respect each individual's skill sets and ownership. Everything has a cost or value, if that value is undermined it creates an unsettling environment. Let's be frank, no one likes to be made feel undermined or undervalued. I prefer to be supportive and encouraged by others’ input and I'd like to think I show others the respect they deserve. I value people's input equally. In my world, there is no "i" in the word team and the most successful projects I have worked on have involved collaborations with various parties or persons who joined forces collectively to achieve a common goal. The most important part of this collaboration is mutual respect. Without mutual respect and credit where credit is due a person is likely to feel undermined and undervalued. Its important boundaries are set at the beginning otherwise, it can lead to a person feeling their role is more important than the others within the collaboration. The project most likely cannot succeed without all participants contributing to the project. Therefore each participant plays an equally important part in the project. Assuming a hierarchy role is neither beneficial or fair to the other participants and can seriously damage the dynamics of the project and affect the outcome.
If you ask for help and support and you receive it at least be gracious enough to credit those involved in the same manner, space and environment as yourself. Otherwise, the next time you seek out help and support you may find people are less likely to give it. Remember time is a person's most valuable asset. If a person gives you their time value it, respect it and most importantly do not undermine or undervalue it.
DON’T be a doormat or allow someone else to undermine you. Are you feeling like someone else is getting (or taking) all the credit?. Speak up so you can be heard, and if that doesn’t work, or you know it’s not working, then make a decision to move on. Staying in a miserable situation serves no one, learn the lesson and move on!
DO give credit, even if it was initially your idea. After all, the other person may have been more instrumental in sparking your brilliance than you even realize. Most likely the project could not have gained wings never mind taken off without their help and assistance.
DON’T let your ego get in the way of your success. (Speaking of giving and taking credit.) It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of what you’ve created. But remember, this is a collaboration – meaning there’s more than one person involved here. AND, it’s not about you or the others involved in collaborating. It’s about the work, your message, and, above all, the final outcome.
DO take responsibility. Before you give your best two finger gesture, make sure you’re pointing them in the right direction. Sometimes we’re quick to place blame but not so quick to look at how we may have contributed to the situation.
DO treat people with respect, compassion, and professionalism. Treat people the way you want to be treated and be sincere. Remember to tame the ego!
Collaborating can be used as a tool for innovation and increased productivity. When implemented correctly you will have a finished project with a happy, productive team. Embrace the benefits and use my tips above to prevent pitfalls.