“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Think back to your playground days. Do you remember the kids who played well in the sandbox? Chances are you for sure remember the ones who hoarded the scoop and bucket for themselves -the boy who threw sand in all directions and the girl who pouted and cried about being left out. But unfortunately, their misbehavior might have overshadowed the well-mannered children who shared and helped one another and made a day at the park or playground a fun time.
In the workforce, “playing well with others” is called collaboration. A healthy, flourishing spirit of collaboration enables people to work together effectively and efficiently, increasing productivity and creating a satisfying work experience. When collaboration is lacking, well, it’s not a pretty picture, much like the sandbox brawls that ended many a pleasant afternoon at the park. When collaboration is in short supply, the ripple effect can project a long-term, far-reaching negative impact.
That’s where choosing the right employees can make a world of difference. What employee traits will nurture a spirit of collaboration in the workplace? What characteristics should hiring managers and HR personnel look for in potential employees?
Someone who is not a control freak
True collaboration requires more flexibility than some people can comfortably give. If Bob or Sally feel the need to micromanage every minute detail, the give-and-take necessary to work well in a team setting will not bode well with their conscious or unconscious desire to control everything.
A person who openly shares information
Trust is a critical component of true collaboration. It requires an honest approach that recognizes the need to share relevant information to facilitate better decision-making and bolster unity. If some folks feel the need to keep information to themselves, it will hamper the team’s collaborative efforts.
A cup-is-always-half-empty kind of person can stifle an entire team when their negative outlook finds something wrong with every suggestion. A positive approach sees possibilities where a negative mindset is prone to see nothing but trouble or defeat.
If accountability is not part of the package, the guy or gal with the most innovative ideas will not be the asset you hoped them to be. Follow-through is a critical trait too often missing, and the lack of reliability will impact collaboration in a negative way.
Sharp communication skills
Collaboration requires people who can both actively listen and effectively exchange information. Active listening involves paying close attention to each team member’s ideas, feedback, and advice before offering a thoughtful and respectful response. The sharing info part of the communication equation means having the ability and patience to thoroughly explain a thought, idea, or concept in terms relevant to the topic and the audience. While some people have mastered one side of communication, team members proficient in both are vital to collaboration.
At A.R. Mazzotta, we recognize the value of effective teamwork within our staffing agency and the companies we assist. So let our experienced team of specialists deliver the best-matched talent for your workforce needs. Connect with us today!