Bringing the Comforts of Home into the Office: Sharing and Collaborating

Harnessing the positive emotional comforts of home so professional women can bring about their best self for networking and business communication

Childhood—good and bad ones—has taught us that one of the cornerstones of happy families is sharing and collaborating. Even if your home life wasn’t wonderful, it’s likely you knew from the idealized television families or the happy families of your friends the benefits of working together.

And remember your kindergarten teacher reminding everyone to share crayons or help put away the toys?

In many of today’s competitive work environments, it’s easy for us to lose sight of the value of collaborating, sharing information and helping others. Use this tip sheet to enrich your projects, networking and value in your profession.

  1. Create an informal team. Does your work assignment seem overwhelming? Are you struggling to gain recognition to position yourself in the office?

    The Old Way of Handling this Problem: Chug ahead, stay up late, get anxious, get possessive about information and your progress.

    The New Way of Handling this Problem: Ask and Offer. Ask other co-workers or colleagues who have more expertise or information to help you. Perhaps you need a few quotes, statistics or contacts that these colleagues could more easily select. Offer to reciprocate with future help with their projects or networking. You will build good will—and a good reputation that just might qualify you for Boss Material or Community Leader.

  2. Always say thank you. Are you swept up into the “way we do things around here” atmosphere of your office?

    The Old Way of Managing this Situation: Take people for granted—after all, it’s their job, duh.

    The New Way of Managing this Situation: Give compliments and acknowledge the work of others. It’s easy to take assistants, co-workers and colleagues for granted. But they are an important part of your success. Let others know formally—not just a brief “thank you” at the end of a meeting—that you appreciate what they have done. Send an email immediately to thank them. Mention specifically how they helped. What goes around comes around—you never know when you might need to rely on them.

  3. Understand that Being First isn’t always Best. Do you find yourself jockeying for projects? Are you surprised that you aren’t picked—when you just know you could do it?

    The Old Way of Proving Yourself: Go behind the scenes, pitch yourself relentlessly, gossip and complain that you didn’t get picked.

    The New Way of Proving Yourself: Go ahead—pitch your ideas and solutions--not yourself—with a willingness and enthusiasm to be part of the project—and its limelight--in general. Let the right people know how you would handle the project. For example, explain the top three issues and how you would manage them. Pitching solutions is better than pitching yourself (“I’m the best person for the job. Look how I handled project X.) Well, this is project Y, so you’d better come up with some good ideas. However, add that you are so excited about this project that you want to work on it regardless whether you are number one. You’ll more likely get picked at least to be on the important project. Big fish in a little pond, little fish in a big pond are both great in their own ways.

    In happy families, especially ones with lots of children, each child knows—often without having to be told—that some kids are better at one thing than another. Yet, in the end, everyone gets to participate in the fun in their own way. Maybe one brother enters the diving competition at camp, perhaps a sister the tennis match.

    Keep the rules of happy childhood in mind the next time you take on a work assignment.

This article first appeared in www.w2wlink.com, the premier community for professional women. Check out their website to read more of my articles that help women with career, work, family and relationships.

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Author's Bio: 

LeslieBeth Wish is a Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker and author who is nationally recognized for her contributions to women, love, relationships, family, career, workplace, and organizations.

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