Whether a team leader or individual contributor, each of us has the opportunity to “lead” a more collaborative discourse within our team or with a colleague.

Not every conversation needs to be collaborative. Directing the group or encouraging healthy debate are often the right approach to the topic or intention. Collaboration is the “act of working with someone or a group to produce or create something.”  So, isolate when you want to (or the team needs to) produce a new approach or idea. That’s when to bring all your collaboration skills to the table.

Here are five behaviors that you can use to bring your most collaborative self to a discussion.

  1. Present my way of thinking in a way that opens others to build on my ideas.
  2. Notice and resist my instinct to protect what I know and how I think.
  3. Ask questions that clarify or expand the views of the other person(s).
  4. Think, “how can I move the conversation forward in a meaningful way?” in pursuit of the intended outcome.
  5. Listen for the underlying concerns, intent, and wisdom of the other person(s).

This week, look for opportunities to engage in a more collaborative approach to a problem or opportunity. Bring your most collaborative self to the conversation.