“Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.” If you’re feeling a little like Dorothy as you get your feet firmly planted on the ground of a new school year, you’re not alone. September means that a new routine, perhaps some new colleagues and a lot of new information is coming your way. But what I’d like to encourage you to do, just like Dorothy did, is to work alongside your colleagues to lift each other up to achieve your goals this year—and what better way to do that than through a little collaboration!
Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!
As we know from the wild adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, it takes a lot more than just saying you’re going to do something to achieve your goals. It takes brains, heart, courage and a lot of teamwork to guarantee we’re all creating a workplace that’s respectful, creative, fun and healthy inside and out.
As Forbes Magazine so aptly points out, collaboration has a variety of elements that you need to focus on to ensure your efforts and goals are achievable and respectful of everyone in your workplace. I’d like to give you a few ideas, inspired by ASEBP’s very own Yellow Brick Road, as it were, on how to do just that.
- Ask empowering questions. Practice asking open-ended questions to get a full answer, rather than a yes/no response. Questions like: “How might we…?” and “What do you think of…?” are great for encouraging everyone in a room to think about things in a broader way. Instilling critical thinking in your conversations and decisions helps get to the root of your discussions and allows everyone to let their best selves shine through.
- Encourage a cooperative spirit. What strengths do others in your workplace bring to the table that help solve problems? What are your own strengths in getting your wellness ideas off the ground? Think of the ways you and your teammates can help achieve common goals and work together. That’s how Dorothy and her friends did it, after all, and look how far it got them!
- Establish open and clear communication. It’s important to have a means to gather input and share with your team (and your workplace as a whole) how or why an idea/goal is worth achieving. This helps ensure you’re all on the same page when it comes to making decisions and celebrating your wins. Everyone’s on board!
- Foster emotional intelligence. Encouraging reflection is important when it comes to collaboration. It’s all about being aware of others and actively listening during meetings and casual conversations. Boosting our colleagues’ awareness of others isn’t the easiest of my tips, but this is the glue that can really help a workplace stick together for the long-term when done effectively.
We’re off (to See the Wizard)
Now that you have a few bricks to build your own Yellow Brick Road, consider putting one (or all) of these ideas into action in your workplace to support collaboration. We know that a happy and healthy workplace is something we all strive for and achieving that goal is a lifelong process. Encourage your colleagues to instill some elements of collaboration in your workdays and see where that figurative hot air balloon takes you—hopefully it’s all the way to your Oz!