At the Corner of Assertiveness & Cooperation: Collaboration

 

What do we meet at the corner of Assertiveness and Cooperation?

The Thomas-Kilmann assessment suggests that it's Collaboration.

Ecollab%20 %20cooperative%20assertive%20matrixTheir assessment, which is the basis for many others, explores different styles people use when handling conflict. For some of you this work may be familiar, but I only learned of it a few days ago from my sister, a professional mediator. Here is a free version which gives you a quick view of the five areas measured by the Thomas-Kilmann assessment.

It identifies five styles of handling conflict between two people: the Avoider, the Accommodater, the Compromiser, the Competitor and the Collaborator.

These types are arrayed in a graph with Assertiveness (defined as concern for the task, or as "thinks of self") on one axis, and Cooperation (defined as concern for people, or "thinks of others") on the other. In the lowest left hand corner is the Avoider, someone who'd rather not deal with conflict at all, and in the upper right hand corner, the corner where the highest level of Cooperation meets the highest level of Assertiveness, is the Collaborator. (Smack dab in the middle, as you'd expect, is the Compromiser, but we'll save that for another day.)

What fascinated me about this model is the light it sheds on Collaboration: where its power comes from, and what distinguishes it from Compromise. Certainly, there are situations in which compromise is adequate and even worthwhile. I'd like to go out for dinner, you'd like to stay home. Taken a step further, I'd like not to cook tonight, and you'd like not to get dressed up or spend a lot of money. A compromise on a nearby casual restaurant fits the bill perfectly, and you and I probably don't need to spend a minute more on a "conflict" like this. But a compromise is always a meeting in the middle, so each gets a little of what they want, and compromise often gets to a gray solution, not really satisfying to anyone but sort of appeasing everyone. In art, it's mixing a lot of colors to get mud.

Collaboration gets its power because it uses the energy of Assertiveness--ideas and real points of view, championed by people who care - and the energy of Cooperation - a willingness to make things work for all involved. From collaboration comes the best result, the idea or solution which is fashioned from everyone's input and is better than what any one person could have come up with on her or his own.

And a key point in all of this, a key ingredient in collaboration, is that it starts with conflict, but it doesn't end there. It takes the energy of the conflict--opposing or differing views, needs and goals--and the attitude of collaboration--the willingness to reach the best solution for all concerned--to get somewhere we've never been before, and somewhere we couldn't go alone.

I'll close with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A leader isn't a seeker of consensus, but a molder of consensus.

 

© Trusted Advisor Associates LLC 2010

graphic: SelectPro ®

Sandra%20styer%20 %20entreprise%20collaborative%20 %20ecollab%20contributeur

Standy Styer is the Practice Lead for Trust Diagnostics at Trust Advisor Associates LLC, where she manages all the individual and organizational assessment tools. Her Trusted Advisor Associates "Trust Temperament" is Catalyst, and at American Airlines she led the development of Travelocity in its infancy.  She is also an accomplished collage artist whose works are part of the permanent collection of the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction.

 

 

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  The Social Learning is based on the sharing of knowledge between each individual people. Everyone can bring something into the knowledge pool of its colleagues. The fixed...

Gossip, Collaboration, and Performance in Distributed Teams

Stories.water Cooler Uidnsp 350

  What do you think the typical manager might say if you told them their employees don't gossip and engage one another enough in social interaction...

What constitutes a Social Learning Culture?

Socialearning%20 %20un%20social%20software%20quest Ce%20que%20cest%20jen%20ai%20dj%20plein%20les%20mains

  I've often thought of social learning as a very culture dependent phenomenon. A few weeks back I read an interesting article by Thierry de Baillon, his...

At the Corner of Assertiveness & Cooperation: Collaboration

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  What do we meet at the corner of Assertiveness and Cooperation? The Thomas-Kilmann assessment suggests that it's Collaboration. Their assessment, which is the basis for many others, explores different...

From Competition to Cocreation - and Back Sometimes

Stories.michelle James   Entreprise Collaborative   Ecollabnsp 350

  How do you approach working with others? What is your resonant mode? Here's my two cents: Competition - "I win if you lose." Cooperation - "I will agree...

Why Best Practices Don't Work for Knowledge Work

Stories.luis Suarez   Entreprise Collaborative   Contributeurnsp 350

  I don’t recall having put together a blog post over here on the specific topic of capturing "Best Practices"; so after reading last Friday’s blog...

The Collaborative Curve

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  Now that I’m on a mission to merge the terms Social Business and Enterprise 2.0 and rephrase asCollaboration, I thought it would be a good...

Formalizing the Informal: Been there, done that

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  @Ecollab asks, “Can we formalize informal learning ?” My answer, “We've been there, done that.” Except for perhaps compliance learning programs, formal learning processes are...

Learning to formalize informal learning

Tom%20haskins%20 %20entreprise%20collaborative%20 %20ecollab%20contributeur

    When we don't already know how to formalize informal learning, there's a lot to learn. We can welcome the challenge if the process of learning...

From Social Media to Social Business: The social learning as missing link

Thierry%20de%20baillon%20 %20entreprise%20collaborative%20 %20ecollab%20contributeur

  I am often puzzled by the way organizations and agencies tackle social media, as if conversational marketing and Enterprise 2.0 were living in separate worlds,...

The Real Secret to Social Learning Success

Stories.entreprise Collaborative   The Real Secret Of Social Learning Succesnsp 350

      For years training and development departments have struggled to compile the data they need to show value to their organizations. However, we will find ourselves...