As mentioned in a previous post the art of collaboration is turning conflict into a positive force. To some people the mere mention of the word CONFLICT is a negative that should be avoided at all costs. To others CONFLICT is exciting and creates an adrenalin rush! How then do we find a balance, a fulcrum point on this spectrum? A space, where CONFLICT is welcomed and the energy is used to drive forward a creative process?
A useful way of finding this fulcrum point is to value yourself and others equally. In a collaborative setting the outcome is the solution, the process of achieving the outcome is fluid. The key is engaging with others to drive the ideas and contributions generated by the group to a point where the creative tension gives rise to the synergistic solution. This process works when all individuals within the group are able to de-personalise ideas. Ideas are not people and people are not their ideas. By all means challenge the idea and respect the person contributing the idea. Equally, be open to your ideas being challenged and respect the person challenging your idea.
De-personalising an idea from the person contributing the idea is a key principle. This creates the environment of TRUST where collaboration develops. In conflict management respecting the other person’s model of the world is a foundation to success. By INTEGRATING a high regard for others with an equally high regard for self, you will be response-able for ensuring all contributions are considered within the overall outcome of the group. Doing this will ensure that all members of the group are able to contribute and that all views are heard.
Where an individual has a higher regard for themselves over their regard for others, this may well lead to this individual attempting to DOMINATE the group and they may not take too kindly to having their ideas challenged. Equally, at the same time, where an individual has a higher regard for others over their regard for themselves this may lead to that individual OBLIGING to every suggestion from others without ever contributing their own ideas. Where an individual prefers to withdraw from situations such as these its may well be that this individual has an equally low regard for others and self. AVOIDING this process only leads to greater and more destructive conflict at a later date.
In a collaborative relationship, the answer to the question in the title to this post, both self and others are equally important.
I would like to acknowledge ‘Styles of Handling Interpersonal Conflict (Rahim & Magner, 1995, p.123) in the compilation of this blog.
Collaboration is working with each other to do a task and to achieve shared goals. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realize shared goals, (this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective determination to reach an identical objective) — for example, an endeavour that is creative in nature —by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources. (Thanks Wikipedia!) The challenge of collaboration is staying focused on the greater shared goal. Conflict over different approaches, different ideas, competitive pressures will surface. Dealing positively with conflict is the art of collaboration. Consider if you will a member of a team with a strong belief in their way of doing things. Their belief is so strong that any challenge to their way of doing things is usually a source of great tension within the team. This is not a helpful trait when it comes to collaboration. A useful matrix to consider when looking to build a collaborative team is how the members of your team view themselves and others. If you have a high regard for yourself and a low level of regard for others, this will not be helpful in a collaborative relationship. If you have low regard for yourself and a high level of regard for others, this will also not be very helpful in a collaborative relationship. If ‘people’ including yourself are just not that important to you, this will not be very helpful in a collaborative relationship. Collaborative relationships work best when an individual values themselves and others equally highly. Seek First Ltd specialise in developing the behaviours and language that build self-awareness (your regard for you), behaviours and language that build an understanding of others (how you regard others), behaviours and language that develop your influencing skills and behaviours and language that lead to effective collaborative action. Over the coming months this blog will go into more details about collaborative behaviour and language. Our first Collaborative Behaviour Practitioner programme will be taking place in London this Autumn. Contact us now for more information. email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 07740506667
At Seek First Ltd we seek to create a Proactive world where Organisations, Teams and Individuals engage respectfully and show appreciation for the contributions of all their colleagues. We develop a culture of high performing teams and leaders within our client organisations through embedding accountability and empowerment within all our development programmes. At the core of all our work we create a proactive space in which our clients can achieve their most stretching outcomes.