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Radical Collaboration
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Radical Collaboration

James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet

Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

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4.1 (57 ratings)
18 mins
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Communication Skills

Radical Collaboration (2004) offers invaluable methods to help you build effective and high-functioning collaborative relationships, as well as strategies to manage any kind of conflict that you might run into. At the heart of these methods are five skills that can turn anyone into a better teammate and turn any organization into an efficient and productive partnership.

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Collaboration requires good intentions and an unselfish attitude.

The modern business world is highly interconnected, with teams spread across the globe that, with the use of online communication, can nevertheless collaborate with one another as if they were neighbors. As such, it’s more important than ever to have great collaborative skills.

So without further ado, let’s look at five essential skills that every great collaborator should have – skills so useful they’ll not only improve your business relationships, but your personal ones as well.

Every great collaboration needs to start with the right motives, which is why the first skill is collaborative intention which refers to having the right mindset for collaboration.

To make sure you have the right mindset, you’ll want to make sure to avoid the red zone and stay in the green zone.

The red zone is a place of defensiveness, where people are mostly driven by a sense of self-interest and the will to outshine everyone else. When you’re in the red zone, you’re not thinking about creative resolutions or how to find win-win situations; instead, your selfish desires will create conflict.

Where you want to be is in the green zone, where your mind is focused on cultivating successful, long-term collaboration, and everyone is driven by open and cooperative values. People in the green zone are opposed to selfish gains and are instead driven to find solutions where everyone comes out ahead.

However, it’s all too common for people to mistakenly think they’re in the green and unconsciously sabotage a project by being in the red.

This is why it’s important to always be honest with yourself and reflect on your own attitude while being open to feedback from your colleagues.

A helpful exercise is to ask your teammates for ten words that best describe your attitude or style.

What you want to be on the lookout for are words like “defensive,” “closed,” “anxious” or “competitive,” as these are telltale signs that you’re in the red zone. You can also ask your colleagues to inform you when you’ve mistakenly made a huge deal out of a small incident, as this will also help you stay firmly in the green.

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