10 Top Qualities of a Great Collaborator
Since we first wrote this post 2 years ago, the collaboration space, and collaboration tools have evolved, a lot. With new technologies, the rise of the digital native, and the ever increasing numbers of remote teams, we felt like it was time for a refresh. What qualities do you look for in a collaborator? Let us know on twitter @samepageio or via email email@example.com - Original post by Elise Hymes, August 2014, updated in May 2016 by Elvis Lieban
Collaboration is one of the top 3 soft skills employers are looking for in candidates in 2016. So, you might be wondering how to find out if a candidate is a gifted collaborator. Or you might be wondering if you're a natural collaborator yourself. Chances are, if you're dealing with a natural collaborator, he or she has several of these qualities:
1. Team focused
While there are plenty of aspects that make a person a team player, there's a really simple test. A team-focused individual thinks about "we" rather than "I". He/she makes sure to keep the team focused on group goals and group success rather than individual agendas.
A great collaborator is willing to take the first step and pitch in, even if they won't get the spotlight. Generosity is also an incredibly desirable leadership characteristic.
They’re good at asking the right questions. A great collaborator is always looking for the root of the issue. They don’t interrogate; they simply follow their natural curiosity because they want to understand.
The best collaborators express sincere appreciation for all that team members have contributed. They’re not shy about expressing this appreciation to the entire team and they give credit where credit is due.
5. Listens to understand
Great collaborators listen attentively to what is being said. But more importantly, they listen to understand. How can you tell someone is a great listener? Check out this guide from Stephanie Lee at LifeHacker.
6. Seeks to find and answer the bigger questions
Projects are rarely just about the task in front of you. It's important to make sure that every project contributes to a company's high level strategy. Highly effective collaborators make sure that the team is working towards the right goals.
7. Connects the dots or creates the dots
Natural collaborators are dot-connectors and/or dot-creators. They are either deeply knowledgeable in a specific subject, or they know how different pieces work together. Collaboration is equal parts bringing the right knowledge and the right people to the same table.
8. Gives and expects trust
More than anything, highly successful teams are built on safety and trust. Great collaborators help create and maintain that trusting environment. They give their trust freely and expect to receive your trust in return.
9. Builds relationships; breaks down walls
Collaboration is all about working together. Great collaborators know someone in every department. They have a pulse on the entire company, and they usually have great external networks too. When you need help from someone outside of the team, the natural collaborator knows just whom to ask.
The best collaborators are diplomats. They know that relationships are built on mutual respect, and that being liked is not always the most important thing. Great collaborators also know that building consensus and establishing buy-in are musts for successful projects. That's why they're great at managing both up and down.
And of course, a great collaborator has a favorite collaboration tool. If you're looking for a tool to help simplify the way you work, give us a try and sign up for a free account. Or see our collaboration tool comparison and get a breakdown of the different kinds of collaboration apps.