Should Collaboration in the Workplace Be Required?

Collaboration and Partnership in the Workplace

For part two of this eight part series, visit Attitude is Everything Part 2: R-E-S-P-E-C-T on Blogging4Jobs. 

“Politeness is the poison of collaboration.”  ~ Edwin Land

Collaboration and partnership are popular buzz words being used in our families, schools, and local organizations.  The terms sound so pretty and nice, but I really start to feel nausea when I hear them…

Should Collaboration in the Workplace Be Required?

The definition of collaboration is “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor”…and a partnership is where parties “agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests”.

These definitions are crazy!  Getting 2 people to work together (never mind teams or groups) and agree on common goals is literally impossible.  No two minds think alike!  Webster Dictionary should have said –

“…Where people choose to align…”

Alignment allows people to work together while “Daring to Disagree” (Margaret J. Wheatley), AND stay focused on the end game!  Rank and privilege do not prevail! (Jack Welch Leadership Principles) So how do we choose to align, collaborate and partner up to reach our business goals?

Let’s follow the ATTITUDE formula in Part 3 of this 8 parts series:

Would you like to find more value and acceptance in, Who your boss is instead of focusing on who he isn’t?

Would you like to find more value and acceptance in, Your daily work expectations instead of focusing on what isn’t your responsibility?

Would you like to find more value and acceptance in, Who your co-workers are instead of focusing on who they aren’t??

If you answered YES! …Then proceed to the next section of learning more about how to work collaboratively and with partners in the workplace!

1. Pick one of the 3 relationships – Boss, Work Expectations, or Co-Workers to focus on.

2. When you think of the relationship, do you feel a level of frustration or anxiety? (psst! – This is the emotion that is driving your non-useful behavior!)

3. Ask yourself, “What am I demanding about the relationship?”  (When we feel a steady stream of frustration or anxiety, we’ve slipped into being very demanding on the job…and we’re on the losing end of having collaborative relationships.)

4. Ask yourself, “Can I always get what I want?”… “How is what I am about to say or do going to impact the business relationship?”

Let’s explore the 3rd attitude…

That will help you get out of your judgment of frustration or anxiety and put your focus back on your work relationship needs!

Amy Poehler , an American actress/comedian, whose first break came on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live (SNL) says it simply:

 “As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration.  Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own.  Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” 


Say what you mean…and mean what you say.  Don’t talk the fresh lingo if you’re going to be secretly narcissistic.  The business leaders of the world are in a power struggle for control.  Let’s be the generation to shift the paradigm! Go back to the questions earlier and utilize the Attitudes of Collaboration and Partnership.

Collaboration feels good.  At the bare minimum, you’re not the only one carrying all the weight on your shoulders.  Partnership lets you know you are not alone!  Nothing feels better than having a sense of belonging and value at work. Building a tool box of useful attitudes will allow you to manage your frustration and anxiety…i.e. your judgment! Curiosity, Respect, Collaboration & Partnership…3 out of 8 attitudes, so far, to use for better business relationships!  How do they inform the situation?  The Relationship?

Remember: Sometimes you’re the decision maker, sometimes you’re not.  At least you said what you needed to say.  Choose to Collaborate and Partner…stay focused on business goals and I guarantee you the outcomes will be beyond your wildest dreams!

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Kathleen Mangiafico

Kathleen Mangiafico, ORSCC is a Relationship Specialist. She works with individuals and organizations on how to navigate through cultural and generational conflict. With a mix of corporate/non-profit experience and a 19 yr. culturally rich marriage (with 3 vivacious boys!), she has the expertise to shift your perspective from, "Who's doing what to whom?" to "What's trying to happen for the sake of YOUR business relationship?" Connect with Kathleen.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kathleen Mangiafico says

    I agree Kyle. As I’ve said before…”We are in the middle of a cultural and generational collision of ideologies and practices!” Let’s keep strong and keep moving through the eye of change!

  2. Kim Kozak says

    Daily work expectations – a very wide term that really warrants more focus. Anyone can improve their relationship with their boss, and increase self-insight, with personality assessments. Yes, using a coach will yield exponentially greater results, but collaboration improvement can be made with self study.

    Work expectations is a different issue. It necessitates the company having clear roles and managers actually managing instead of directing or assuming. So much more is outside of one’s personal ability to improve that “collaboration influence factor”.

  3. Kathleen says

    You are absolutely right! The trendy terms aren’t really working. It takes at least two to be collaborative….anything less is just smoke and mirrors.

  4. Deb says

    Your advice to collaboration & make a useful team at your workplace & do things great idea is very useful. However, from my experience i think that attitude formula’s 3rd part i.e relationships with co-workers really determine how far you could really go with this company & how your decision matters most in some of company’s crucial meetings. Thanks for this hands-on idea though.

  5. Kathleen says

    …”Having a relationship with co-workers really determines how far you could really go with this company and how your decisions matter most…” Yup! I’ve been in work situations where I’ve had to “accept” that my co-workers aren’t necessarily in love with me…and I’ve had to find some serious “acceptance” with what (and who) I really wanted to judge! I had to ingratiate myself to my co-workers…it was me who had to earn the respect of them…because their system was already in place…and I was trying to fit it!



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