February 29, 2012 / 6:25 PM / 7 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Collaboration, harder than it looks

BOSTON (Reuters) - Collaboration is championed as a positive force but there are several reasons why it is still more rare than imagined, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (http:\\www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“We praise collaboration for improving problem solving, increasing creativity, and spurring innovation. Done correctly, it does yield all these benefits. But it can also be scary.

Here are three facts you have to accept, and embrace, about collaboration before it can work:

1. You won’t know the answer. There’s no point in collaborating on a complex problem if you know how to solve it. Be comfortable with ambiguity and accept that you aren’t necessarily the expert.

2. Roles will be unclear. Responsibilities are often fluid. Be ready for the role you play to change with each phase of the work.

3. You will fight. If you avoid conflict, nothing will happen. Knowing how to debate tradeoffs between options means knowing how to productively argue.”

- Today’s management tip was adapted from “Eight Dangers of Collaboration” by Nilofer Merchant.

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