You are smart and capable but sometime you feel that your opinions are not valued. Your working relationship with your peers tends to stress you out more than anything else. In most startup companies effective collaboration can mean efficient and creative solutions, better work satisfaction, and higher productivity.  To get things done at work, effective communication is important.  However, sometimes it is not as simple as stating your opinion and expecting it to be heard.  If you haven’t had a chance to read my last week’s blog about effective mindsets to overcome challenges, read it here.

How do you communicate effectively in a collaborative manner?

  1. Know what you want to get out of your discussion. First, think about what you want out of the conversation and what might your approach be. Try this: explore what are the results you want not only from the problem solving angle, but also from an interpersonal perspective. Use the following ideas borrowed from Dialectical Behavior Therapy: write out a particular scenario using the following questions.  After you write them out, think about how you would be going into the discussion knowing these are the results you wanted.  Notice anything different?
    1. What issue are you trying to resolve and what would you like to achieve?
    2. How do you want to feel about yourself at the end of conversation?
    3. How do you want to the other person to feel about you at the end of conversation?
  2. Understand what is important to the people you’re working with. What motivates them, what do they value, how do they derive a sense of self-satisfaction, and what’s important in their life?  Okay, I’m sure here you’re saying why do I need to know that; why can’t we just focus on the issue?   In the ideal world, people’s feelings and attitudes wouldn’t impact the conversation, but in the real world the uniqueness you each bring contributes creative synergy to problem solving.   Try this: Listen carefully as you work with your team and see what each individual is motivated by.  If you don’t know, you can ask or take a guess.  Not everyone is able to give you an honest answer. Some typical things people are motivated by are meanings, pride, validations,  power, prestige, money, respect, winning, pleasure, fun, friendship, desire to go home …etc. When you know you can use each individuals motivations for a more collaborative approach and to support each in a common goal, creating a win-win situation.
  3. Lastly, listen carefully to the other person and repeat back to that person what you think they said. Try this: Pose a question to your colleague by first showing appreciation for the ideas that support what they are motivated by, then go from there.

If you need help implementing the above tips, or would like coaching in resolving blocks in your career,  please give me a call at 650-397-1376 or email at In my follow-on blog, I will share with you tips on effective skills in working with your management.  Sign up for my blogs to read my future writings on career, relationships, and personal growth.

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