The ability to cooperate with others and work effectively in a team environment
WHAT IS IT?
Collaboration is the ability to work with others to accomplish mutual objectives. In a team environment, everyone contributes to the shared goals of the group, and it is imperative that all employees can interact positively and effectively. Each individual plays an important role that is intricately tied to the other members of the team or firm.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
In today’s complex workplace, everyone must do their part in order for a business to succeed. There are several small pieces that make a successful firm operate – this includes everything from the runner being punctual to the most senior attorney setting an example of work ethic and approachability. If one person falls short, the entire work environment can be compromised. Because so many pieces are intricately linked, everyone needs to learn how to cooperate with others – for their own sake as well as that of the entire firm.
- Communicate Expectations
First, communicate your expectations directly. If you see a potential area for improvement, address it candidly and politely. If you envision how all pieces come together and what certain team members are responsible before, be clear in what you hope for. It is difficult to collaborate without knowing who is responsible for what task. In addition, when assigning tasks, communicating expectations, and offering feedback, be quick to support team efforts. Of course, you have to follow through on your vision and your offers or the plan will backfire.
- Give Regular Updates
Second, active collaboration requires constant communication. Ask for feedback, provide regular status updates, and let people know what you’re working on. Expect the same of other attorneys and encourage this culture in your firm. We have to get out of our individualistic and self-protective mode of thinking and make our work visible to others. Be open to suggestions and don’t be too attached to your own ideas or way of doing things.
- Be Accommodating
Finally, be easy to get along with. Give others the benefit of the doubt and express your appreciation for their contributions. Be flexible with the small things. Take interest in the well-being of your co-workers. Try not to let petty conflicts bother you and never speak poorly of a fellow team member or the team leader.