What Does Being Actively Present in Collaboration Look Like?
I am blessed to say that Babson has given me the collaborative experience of a lifetime. From starting a business freshman year, to dynamic group projects sophomore year to job fairs and career development seminars, Babson has been training me to be a collaboration expert from the beginning. I am grateful to say that I have learned a few things that I would love to share about how to be actively present in collaboration endeavors you encounter.
First, loose the pride. In talking to the other video production intern, I asked him, “what was the biggest lesson you learned that you will take to your next task God gives you?” “Not being afraid to ask for help.” In many competitive environments, we often can get caught in the cycle of feeling that we need to prove our self worth through the skills we hold. If you are not following Jesus, consider the areas in your life where you have pride. Then, consider whether the areas where you have pride is benefiting yourself in the long run. If you are following Jesus, knowing that these are not our skills but rather skills God has given us, we ask Jesus to break our pride and help use us as empty vessels for His purpose. Therefore, they are not for own personal glory or use but instead they are for Jesus’s. Additionally, if you stop focusing on ego, you can give someone else an opportunity to serve you and/or your team with their gifting. Again, when I was talking to the other video intern, they stated, “Sometimes my pride can get in the way: I don’t want to bother anyone or people to think I don’t know what I am doing.” Long story short, do not be afraid to ask for help. As Jesus’s mission was all about exalting the lowly, humble servants in this world, the Word states, “Christ is most exalted in our weakness not our strengths”. Translation is people resonate and connect with when you talk about your weaknesses rather than your strenghts. Instead of caring about how asking a question will affect the way people perceive you, stop overthinking and do what you have to do with patience and love, humbling yourself before others.
Second way to be fully present in what you are working on with your team is to actively listen. How active listening is lived out is literally listening to every single word that comes out of the mouth of the person speaking. Coming from personal experience, doing this exercise is a lot harder than it seems because of how intentional you must be. I also listened to a quick video message from Steve Furtick about being anxious. As I paraphrase what his video message was about, it explained how if you are anxious in a conversation, it is because you are not truly listening and focusing on the person you are conversing with. Therefore, listen and focus. By not listening to the best of our human capability, we are doing a disservice to what information retain and how we can actually help out the rest of our team. We can not get to where we need to go if we do not commit ourselves fully to our present assignments. In order to be all in, we must start with listening.
Last ingredient to take into account when collaborating is staying aware of where there are needs. Even more so, serve in the areas where the needs are present. So often we find ourselves on teams where people volunteer themselves for the “easy” roles. However, it’s important to wonder what we could learn from accepting the challenge of the least wanted role. Maybe there is not least wanted role. If this is the case, ask questions. Questions is to key to being analytical and gaining insight into the work environment. Asking questions also demonstrates that you care and are curious, if that is the true motive to why you are asking the question.
I can tell you I am no master yet at being actively present in collaboration. However, I currently am checking in with where I am at in projects. The questions you must ask yourself is “where do you fall short in not giving your best self to team projects?” “Is there an ingredient in actively being present that you struggle with?” “If so, which one and what are you going to do about it to positively change it?”
All of these steps can help give you a guideline to in being a more active team member and listener. We are in this together as we learn how to be more engaged through our collaborative experiences.
For me, I look forward to taking these lessons I have learned back to Babson and a new production job I secured this next season all for the glory of Jesus being known.