Open any business playbook, and you’ll find “collaboration” listed as a key ingredient for success. But what if being collaborative meant putting your own success aside for the moment for the betterment of the group– would you be able to do that?
Imagine you’re a recruiter and a high-achieving professional reaches out to change jobs. They’ve got a stellar resume with impressive skills and credentials. Here’s the catch: their current employer is your colleague’s client. Right this moment, your colleague is working hard to fill several big positions for this company. If you were to place this candidate, you could jeopardize your colleague’s relationship with the company and risk earning the reputation as a “filler and taker”– not a great look for recruiting firms. While this scenario may be uncommon, it illustrates why collaboration is so important: everything we do impacts others, and if we fail to adopt a collaborative mindset, we can end up with a short-term win that jeopardizes long-term success.
At Lucas Group, I’m honored to be part of a team that can take a step back and look at the big picture. We prioritize collaboration with each other, our candidates and our clients so everyone succeeds. Here’s what that looks like in action:
Respecting the time and perspective of others. A culture of collaboration starts with genuine respect. It’s not enough to bring a diverse group to the table. We need to create spaces where everyone is empowered to share their perspective. Whether you’re talking to the CHRO or an administrative assistant, be courteous and polite.
A big part of respecting others is promptly replying to their messages. It’s hard to collaborate if no one can get ahold of you! Whether I’m talking with a colleague, company or candidate, I always prioritize a prompt response and appreciate when others do the same.No one wants to miss their child’s baseball game or a family dinner. If you’re asking others to go above and beyond, be sure there’s a good reason– and that you reciprocate when they need the support.
Celebrating success as a team. We aren’t playing a zero-sum game: your colleague’s success doesn’t come at the expense of your own. In fact, I find that the more successful my team is, the harder I work because they’re raising the bar for all of us. At Lucas Group, we celebrate success from regular reviews to shout-outs on tools like Microsoft Teams.
Recognizing those who help you. Give people credit for work they’ve done, big and small. Perhaps they made a simple suggestion or even reminded you of a previous event that triggered a new idea. If you’re not grateful, it turns people off. Recognizing the role someone played helps build collaboration— and makes them more likely to contribute to future projects.
Reaching out without an “agenda.” “You’re one of the few recruiters that calls me just to check-in.” I hear this a lot from companies. That’s because my approach is different: I don’t call just when it’s “time to make a deal.” I check in to share market insights or other information that might help a company make better strategic decisions. My goal is to build a long-term, collaborative relationship genuinely invested in a client’s success.
Being honest and transparent. Recently, I told someone I didn’t think a job was the right fit for them and was open with my reasons why. It was disappointing for the candidate, but they appreciated my candor. This conversation opened the way for improved collaboration because the candidate knew I wasn’t going to sugarcoat the truth, and consequently, we could work together to better position them for the right opportunity.
I’ll do the same when I’m working with companies. For example, I’ve worked with companies that require additional work on weekends or have a culture where “hours worked” matters more than “results produced.” Making placements at these companies isn’t easy. I could hide these less desirable job aspects to get a candidate in the door, but that would be a disservice to everyone involved. Candidates need to know the culture and job expectations up front. Otherwise, they’re likely to jump ship, and then we’re all back to square one after wasting time and money.
How do you collaborate in the workplace? Share your approach in the comments below.