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Collaboration and Communication

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The 10 Landmines that Disable Team Communication

It’s usually the topic we’re not discussing that wields the most power in the room. Subtle and often hidden from view, insidious obstacles make collaboration difficult. These landmines are both sins of omission and sins of commission. Usually, we know they are causing or perpetuating struggle but we’re not willing to risk the consequences of unveiling them for open communication. So, we make them normal in our culture. Consider these ten landmines and perform a quick assessment of your own team.

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Your Team’s Next Conversation

Without exception, every team has work to do. Whether fixing something broken or fueling an opportunity, there is a conversation needed to move things forward. We all know which conversations are most important. It’s usually the ones that are awkward and sensitive. It’s often the issue not being discussed that fills the atmosphere with tension. Here are a few of the most common team conversations waiting to be initiated:

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Me vs. We

The drivers of workplace behavior can be both selfish and altruistic. Our personal desire for achievement can overtake our mission to advance the lives of others. When our own needs clamor for satisfaction, the greater good sometimes gets sacrificed. Few of us, however, live in isolation. Most of us are members of relationships, families, teams, and organizations where goals are shared.

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How Communication Changes in Team Settings

The ability to collaborate effectively within teams is one of the greatest tests of communication. Growing up, most of our education is skewed toward individual success. We learn to set goals, take initiative, and budget our time based on our own pace and work ethic. We assume that applying the same rubric will lead to success in team settings. We believe the contribution of strong individual performance along with respect for others constitutes teamwork. Not always. In fact, it might even be a detriment.

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The 10-Ingredient Collaboration Recipe

Blending differences has the potential to polarize as well as coalesce. How do you collaborate effectively when everyone at the table is an expert? How might generosity and sharing occur when each stakeholder represents a different cause? Understanding the recipe for effective collaboration provides a starting point. Consider these ingredients:

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