Collaborating Without Sacrificing

Within collaborations there are important nuances to be aware of. One of them is to find the line between collaboration and devaluing yourself. While collaboration is increasingly the way we work, it is equally important to honor your own individuality and values. Collaboration does not mean sacrificing yourself for a team or group. It means finding the way that a team of individuals can work together harmoniously and productively.

Here are some signs that can indicate that you may have crossed the line between collaborating and sacrificing.

• Another person(s) is dominating the conversation and your voice is stifled

• You find yourself in emotionally charged conversations with team members where you focus on what you want them to do differently, rather than focusing on what you need from the collaboration

• The project is proceeding in a way that is not going to achieve its goal and the team is not working to improve the situation. You are worried about delivering and how this might affect your reputation

• You find your stress level rising about working with the team and you have not defined clear boundaries for your work with them

• You are not honoring your values

Can you identify other signs?

You gain nothing, and often lose, by sacrificing yourself. Don’t do it. Each member of a team matters. That is the challenge of collaboration: to find a way to work together that honors the individuality and contributions of all team members, including you.