Collaboration Requires Self-Awareness

Few words in the English language trigger as strong a response as collaboration. This is accentuated by the polarity of our times. Drama has been high, disrupting and distracting our attention. Those who are genuinely collaborative rarely demand the limelight in this way.

For many collaboration provokes a negative feeling based on how often the term was misused over time. For example, “collaboration” is frequently used by those in power roles to describe full cooperation. What they are really requiring others to do is to cooperate with their personal agenda or singular vision. When we ask others for blind cooperation it would be better to call it by its real name, “full cooperation”, and clarify that we are leaving out an individual or group’s ability to question and present alternative needs. With no space given to innovate, re-frame agendas, or develop outcomes for a truly collaborative strategy and delivery process.

In essence, all of this naturally causes misunderstanding and taints the way we think of collaboration. It’s also why self-awareness is essential. Collaboration requires both cooperation and assertion. Not just opinions. We need to understand where we disconnect from either of these capabilities, and what we can do to create change from within.

Ask yourself if you are open and willing to cooperate with others? What causes this to change depending on the situation or individuals involved? Cooperation requires powerful listening skills. Are you able to assert strategic recommendations? Are these innovative, well-rounded, practical, and inclusive? Can you do this while also remaining cooperative with others? This requires empathy, creative thinking, and a keen sense of timing for listening and expressing strategies.

Ask Promoting Brilliance how we support career and leadership development for collaborative communication that positively impacts your life personally and professionally. We’re ready to transform your view of collaboration and tune your self-awareness to help you connect effectively with yourself and others.

Energize your values, vision and vitality with Promoting Brilliance.

Contact Beth Wellesley at 612.824.0454 (o) or 612.325.5104 (m). Email her at or use the CONNECTING menu.