What can I do to be a better collaborator?

My working group in our adaptive leadership training program is looking at collaboration: within our museum’s context, what is it, how can it be effective and deliver value to our public. Challenged to arrive at three questions that get to the core of the issues, I reflected on advice that a colleague received from a 360 reviewer recently, that ‘the only thing any of us can ever really influence is our own behaviour.’

Which led me to these three points.

  1. How can I better forgive, and work with the grain of, your foibles of personal style, professional codes and pressures of role in order to collaborate with you effectively?
  2. What can I do to overt my foibles of personal style, professional codes and pressures of role so that I am easier to collaborate with?
  3. How can I forgive myself for the inevitable remaining consequential negative impacts of my approach on my collaborator, in order that I may remain in an adult, not parent/child/codependent, state of interpersonal behaviour?

The last is hardest. However hard we try we won’t always get it right. And as i have learnt over the past three weeks of conference challenge, there are many reasons why someone may find collaboration really hard. But it will not serve our goals if I am too riven with fear and guilt to continue to act. And it cuts both ways – my difficulties in collaboration are likely to be my problem, not yours, and it is up to me to fix them. Remaining Adult-Adult (in the transactional analysis sense) is essential – I must notice and resist the push from guilt and fear to enter into a non-Adult state.

Easy to write. Hard to do.



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