APU Careers Careers & Learning

Ways to Expand Your Collaboration Circle

work-collaboration-circleBy J. Mason
Online Career Tips Editor

Working on a team within any work setting gives you immediate access to a group of people to collaborate with. The larger the team, the more availability for expansion of roles based upon the variances of work. This also means that you have a core group of individuals to lean on when you have a problem. For those that see themselves in a more independent role within their company finding collaboration partners is a necessity, and at times it can be difficult. It is important though to keep expanding your circle.

Why should I work with others? If you find yourself asking this question then you’re already in the wrong state of mind. Just like content marketing is moving towards more collaborative platforms, like Facebook, Prezi, and LinkedIn, so should this apply to any position. Placing yourself on an island doesn’t make you invaluable to the institution, instead it makes you unapproachable. If you’re paranoid about losing certain responsibilities then maybe it’s time to make a change in your work ethic, or bone up on your skills in that area. Managers love to see their direct reports working together, and when they create a bridge across departments then it’s a huge win for them and the rest of the group.

Whatever your hangups may be, drop them. There are so many more benefits to having a collaboration network, and I have a few simple ways to encourage that growth.

Make an Allegiance with an Unlikely Source

Accounts payable is great for the checks and balances of the company, but not many would view this department as a potential internal partnership. No offense to those in this important position! The point here is to dig beyond the surface. That account manager that signs off on your expenses more than likely has great critical thinking skills; not to mention they have great attention to detail. Don’t close the door on someone just because of their title. There could be great hidden potential in the coordinator in your group as well.

Reevaluate Current Collaborative Partners

We all purge our closets, friends lists, and pantry a few times a year so why not do the same with work contributors? Do an inventory on those individuals to see where they’ve added value in the past year, the last time you worked together, their strengths, and then see how it aligns with your strategy for next year. If they don’t make the cut then it’s a great opportunity to rotate in new colleagues.

Check Out LinkedIn Connection Suggestions

I love LinkedIn for a variety of reasons, and one of those reasons is the suggestions it gives for new connections. I have found a number of work colleagues through this channel. For those that work in a large company it’s hard to know everyone you work with, and LinkedIn can help get you two connected, while providing you with a thorough background of their work experience. Review and add a few a month to your network and make sure to send an initial message of introduction to get started. It’s one way to network when your position is stationary.

Work on keeping these connections fresh by constantly growing them. A good collaboration can help you to stay grounded in your position, and it can bring a sense of calm when you’re position is driving you nuts.

What’s your greatest collaboration to date?


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