If you’re looking to move up in your company, you may need more than dedication and a reputation for being hard working. In many job descriptions, you’ll find employers mention that “being a team player is a must” to be considered for the position. This is especially true when you’re applying for a promotion. You must be able to work with everyone, from entry level employees to executives. But how do you collaborate constructively without stepping on anyone’s toes or losing sight of your own responsibilities?
It’s more than bringing donuts for your coworkers. It’s great when a coworker is considerate enough to bring treats in for the team on a Monday, but successful collaboration means more than thoughtful gestures. When collaborating with a coworker, you’re both trying to make a task easier or more seamless than it was previously. When you’re working with a colleague on a project, you want to be able to respect the other person, listen to their ideas, and still be able to disagree politely.
Collaboration can highlight your leadership skills. If you’re seeking to make yourself known to highers up or simply want to show that you’re ready for a promotion, demonstrating that you’re able to work with a team is necessary. In every group project, someone will take on a leadership role. Why can’t it be you? Maybe you have a certain set of skills, like a talent for organizing data or mediating disputes, that you’re not able to highlight on a day-to-day basis. Taking on a leadership role will allow you to show those skills off and show your boss that you’re ready to take on more responsibility. You may think your boss doesn’t notice this if they don’t compliment you, but a good boss is always looking for talent within their team.
Collaboration can make your job easier. You may be stuck on a problem or are unsure of how to approach someone about a project. If you’ve established that you’re willing to help your coworkers, they’ll help you in return. No matter how awesome you are, you can’t be great at everything and having people willing to help you will make your job easier. This isn’t so much about making friends with your coworkers, but establishing that you’re willing to work as a team.
Even if you’re happy in your current position and have no interest in a promotion or new title, collaboration can only be beneficial in the workplace. There are times you’ll be overwhelmed and need help. There are times when you’ll need to help an overwhelmed coworker. Working together can benefit everyone in the office. And, sometimes, collaboration does lead to someone bringing in donuts for the office, which is never a bad thing!