Welcome to the fourteenth day of the 2019 Love Blog Challenge! Today’s prompt is Cooperation. Check out the announcement post for all the prompts and rules this month. You can still join the link-up for yesterday’s topic, Changes.
My sweet husband is once again blogging for me! As a creative solopreneur who works from home, I don’t have the same perspective that Dan does on cooperation in the workplace. He’s worked in a few different offices over the years, so he’s sharing his wisdom with my blog readers!
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
I’m not much of a poet, but occasionally I find poetry that expresses an idea so well, I can never hope to match the sentiment. Glossing over the gendered language (a product of the 1600s and the Christian background of the author), I think this is a truism that applies to humanity in general. We do not and should not survive on our own.
As much as I believe in the strength and the value of self-reliance of the individual, nothing we value in modern society can be created alone. Sure, individuals have made incredible contributions, but they did so standing on the shoulders of prior efforts. They did so with support of other people, both past and present. The more connected and cooperative we are with other people, the better society gets.
But cooperation isn’t just people working together–it’s people wanting to work together. Unfortunately, many people are stuck working with people with whom they don’t necessarily want to work.
People can still work together when they’d rather not, but it feels like the benefits of cooperation don’t necessarily exist in that sort of situation.
So what can you do to encourage cooperation?
We don’t always get to choose who we work with, and you don’t need to enjoy working with everyone. But you can choose to change your perspective on working with people who annoy you. You can improve the cooperation of the team.
How to Encourage Cooperation
This advice applies to teams of any size, be it a team of two on a class project or a team of twenty in the office. The bigger the team, the more complicated the cooperation can get, but the more beneficial it can be in the end.
1) Establish preferred methods of communication.
Find out how people prefer to communicate. See if there is some shared way to get your message across. Some people prefer phone calls while others like to text. Some people prefer emails, and some people want to hold meetings. I’m sure there are low-tech people out there who even want everything in writing on a piece of paper.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each method of communication. Figure out your own communication style, and then try to adapt your preference to improve the exchange of information. This will improve collaboration between people.
Let’s say you prefer email while another person prefers phone calls. You could call them first with a summary of information, promising to follow-up with an email. Then send the email with the full details.
I am a work in progress on this, as I’m hardly an expert at communication, and I often get it wrong.
And getting it wrong on a recurring basis does the opposite of encouraging cooperation.
This leads me to my second piece of advice.
2) Learn from your mistakes.
Sure, you might butt heads with someone when you first meet them, but if you are going to work with them for an extended period of time, you need to learn from the times you had issues.
Figure out what you could have done differently to improve the situation. Maybe you could have avoided the situation altogether. You can’t always expect people to get along, but you should be able to improve relationships over time.
3) Get to know people outside of work.
Cooperation is broader than just working together. It’s being part of a team. And a good team works well together because they are more than just colleagues–they are friends, too. Or at least friendly acquaintances!
If you’ve got someone you don’t get along with at work, try asking about their personal lives over lunch. Maybe you’ll discover that they have issues at home, causing them to be short-tempered at work. In that situation, you could respond with empathy the next time they respond negatively at work.
4) Bonus tip!
My final piece of advice is to read the prior topics on forgiveness and compromise. Even though this post is more about work relationships, and those topics are more about familial relationships and marriage, much of the advice can still apply to the workplace.
That said, keep in mind that if a relationship is toxic or unhealthy, you can’t always cooperate. If this is in a personal relationship, you can break up or avoid the person. If it’s in the workplace, you may have to change the team you are on or even find a new job.
Cooperation may produce awesome results, but you don’t have to cooperate with toxic or immoral people.
Meet Your 2019 Love Blog Challenge Hosts!
Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. On her blog and social media, you’ll discover more than authentic storytelling–she’s brutally honest about pursuing a fulfilling and joyful life even with Crohn’s Disease and depression.
Alessia is a lifestyle blogger, entrepreneur and post-graduate student in History from the best borough in London, up and coming Croydon. She’s a bit like Emma Woodhouse (Pemberley Digital version) and just about no longer the most eligible Catholic bachelorette, as she has found her Mr Knightley in sunny Derbyshire.
Charlene is a 20-something wife and fur-mama living in Portland, Oregon. She’s a follower of Christ, watcher of SciFi, reader of fantasy, singer of show tunes, and lover of her husband! She uses her blog, Enduring All Things, to help couples build a marriage that will endure whatever comes their way.
I hope you enjoyed Dan’s guest post! I formatted a few things (and fixed a few run-on sentences), but he did most of the writing himself.
How do you cooperate with people?