"Collaboration"- A cringe worthy word

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Don't get me wrong, I strive and push for both myself and my team to be collaborative...meaning being open and accepting of sharing ideas in order to get to the best outcome. However, lately when I see the words collaborative and collaboration being used when building strategies or talking about what leaders want for their teams, I cringe. Why? Well, because I feel like it's a crutch word and one used to describe how others should behave.

If you want collaboration, whether you are a team leader or a team member, you have to model that behavior. I see so many people who don't know how to communicate, or don't even want to communicate, or even worse, people's idea of communication is that everyone else has to listen to what they have to say. How do you have collaboration when you don't embrace and model the very basics of the word?

I'm all good with someone who wants to strive towards collaboration and is working on their own communication and listening skills. I would even say that I fit in that category. I feel like I'm always evaluating my behavior and asking what I could have done better to make that last meeting or conversation more productive.

What I do have an issue with are those that say they want a collaborative atmosphere, yet they completely shut down or shut others down. There are those that want their teams to behave collaboratively but are unwilling to hear other people's point of view.

I believe having a collaborative team is a goal we should all strive for, but in order to get there, you have to model that behavior...or walk the talk. Don't throw it around and expect everyone else to be collaborative, lead with greatness, and show how it's done.

What do you do to actually put the word collaboration into action? Do you work with a collaborative team? If so, give us some insight!