Skills for succeeding together

By default we are not very good at thinking clearly – in particular when working together with other people under pressure. When we know what is happening in our brains, we can choose to act in ways that make it easier to focus on the essential. We can also choose to act in ways that allow us to succeed together with others.

Work based on learned routines is effective. Problems arise when routines do not match a new situation. Traditionally, this problem has been tackled with managerial action – expecting managers to provide guidance to their subordinates through feedback. This approach is obsolete. It originates from an era when managers knew more about the work that their subordinates together. There is nothing wrong with goals and feedback. The problem is the thinking pattern that separates planning (and monitoring) from doing. A traditional way of giving feedback elevates the giver above the receiver.

We all are very willing to learn, but not always willing to be taught. What if two or more equal experts trying to achieve a shared goal would try to get the job done as well as possible? There would be no more need for “corrective” or “reinforcing” feedback, but a lot of communication that would allow to get the job done with minimal friction.

How to do this is definitely not something that should be trained to managers only. Rather every member of the organizations benefits from better collaboration skills. We all are motivated, responsible and active. We are willing and able to develop ourselves and our jobs as soon as we are given the opportunity to do so.