Is Being Collaborative Really an Advantage for Women at Work?
We know that a body of research shows women to be more nurturing, team-oriented, and collaborative. This is expected of us. And so, it’s lately been recommended that women consider couching their disagreements, negotiations and suggestions in collaborative ways — essentially playing to their strengths. When seeking a raise, for example, you might talk about your salary being a signal to the whole team of their value or mention how your concern is one that benefits the entire project.
Skillful collaboration at work is certainly a useful arrow to have in your quiver. For those women already friendly, likable, and desiring to please, this approach comes naturally. So, it’s good news to hear that you can employ it to your advantage. But let me add a caveat: collaboration is just one "arrow" and clinging to only one way of acting rarely works well over time.
Stretching, expanding your repertoire while still being yourself, is more important. In fact, if a woman is already by nature collaborative and uses that approach with everyone, she sets herself up for problems. Why?
First, interesting people are not one-dimensional or predictable. The former is boring and the latter opens people up to being easily manipulated.
Second, astute communication requires the ability to respond to people of various types — to speak their language. Constant collaboration in a competitive environment is like moving to France and speaking only Greek. There won’t be many people listening.
Third, continuous collaboration often signals an inability to lead in situations where it’s impossible to please everyone.
You have to know where you are on any behavioral continuum before determining how to improve. Increased collaboration may be exactly what’s needed for a woman, or man, who is painfully direct and oblivious to the feelings and needs of others. Women who spend much of their time being collaborative, however, would do well to learn with which colleagues and bosses this approach does and doesn’t work.
It’s important, especially as public attention turns once again to the challenges women face at work, that we use caution in making blanket recommendations about what types of behavior are best for them as a group. Like men, women differ. The types of people and situations they face also differ.
Research can detect important gender differences, but often those are quite small in the great scheme of things and do not pertain to all women. How well a particular woman's style fits where she works is more important when deciding how she, as an individual, should act. There are a lot of women who aren’t collaborative at work by nature and they’re doing quite well.
We all do ourselves a favor by learning a variety of workplace communication strategies. If you tend to collaborate, that’s fine. But apply this tendency judiciously. No matter how superb your breaststroke, using it to cross a desert is futile. Being collaborative in the wrong situations is similar.
There are occasions in any workplace where the best focus is not on how to make everyone feel good. It’s on readying yourself to give as good as you’re likely to get.
Dr. Reardon also blogs on this topic here.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
- Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.
If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.
- For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
- Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
- Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
- Master Execution: How to Get from Point A to Point B in 7 Steps, with Rob Roy, Retired Navy SEALUsing the principles of SEAL training to forge better bosses, former Navy SEAL and founder of the Leadership Under Fire series Rob Roy, a self-described "Hammer", makes people's lives miserable in the hopes of teaching them how to be a tougher—and better—manager. "We offer something that you are not going to get from reading a book," says Roy. "Real leaders inspire, guide and give hope."Anybody can make a decision when everything is in their favor, but what happens in turbulent times? Roy teaches leaders, through intense experiences, that they can walk into any situation and come out ahead. In this lesson, he outlines seven SEAL-tested steps for executing any plan—even under extreme conditions or crisis situations.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.