collaboration

Leadership at All Levels Reaps Rewards

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It may seem paradoxical, but leadership is something that everyone should practice in the workplace. That’s right—leadership isn’t just for the designated “leaders” of an organization. It’s for everyone, from the recent college graduate starting his or her first job, to the experienced professional who’s been working in the field for thirty years. Leadership also isn’t just for large crowds and big meetings; in fact, it’s useful in work situations we experience every day.

American financier and presidential advisor Warren G. Bennis explains that “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” At QIP, almost all of our staff are in the business of converting clients’ ideas into the products we develop for them—and, given Warren G. Bennis’s definition of leadership, that makes everyone at QIP a leader.

How might leadership play out in an individual’s day-to-day work? Here are a few best practices we use at QIP:

  • We schedule meetings with clients regularly and make a point of listening to their needs—which is an important, but often overlooked, leadership tool.
  • We share draft products with clients as a standard practice to make sure that our work reflects their needs. Being responsible for meeting clients’ needs is leadership, too.
  • Finally, it’s important to feel empowered to share assessments of client needs with senior management, project directors, and colleagues throughout the organization, so everyone can stay aware of how the team is helping clients achieve their objectives and goals. Collaboration helps to ensure high-quality outputs; this is leadership.

When you listen to client needs, incorporate their direction into your working drafts, and share ideas and project progress with your colleagues, clients will find your support critical to their success. If you do this on a regular basis, you are surely acting like a leader on your team, throughout your organization, and for your clients.

Teams benefit when everyone is actively leading: working to translate clients’ visions into the products and services they need. We’ve found this to be true at QIP, and it will also be true for you.

[Source of quotation: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Warren_Bennis]

Teamwork: Greater than the Sum of the Parts

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If you are an athlete or theater goer—or both—you’ve seen how a coordinated group effort can produce an outcome that is greater than the sum of its parts. Coaches, stage directors, task managers, project directors, and other leaders recommend a wide range of sometimes competing philosophies for inspiring and improving teamwork, but here’s how we approach the concept at QIP.

The Business Dictionary defines teamwork as “the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.” That sounds right, but we think there’s more to it. In fact, we like the way artist and author Zero Dean explains the concept in more interpersonal terms:

Teamwork is the combined commitment to overcome obstacles. It’s support. It’s encouragement. It’s working together.

It’s rising to the challenge of bettering yourself for the benefit of the whole. It’s providing the support & encouragement necessary to help others better themselves and succeed in their endeavors.

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, many experts believe that, after identifying a shared goal or purpose, the most important aspects of teamwork center on relationships: effective group communications, efficient collaborative processes, and positive interpersonal interactions. We consistently put these ideas into practice here at QIP.

No matter what your workplace role is, it’s a valuable exercise to consider how you contribute to the teams you work within—internally, with business partners, and in client settings. What is your role? What do you contribute? What could you contribute? To evaluate yourself, you can ask questions such as these:

  • Am I a consistent contributor?
  • Am I a person my colleagues can count on?
  • Do I volunteer to pick up the slack when I see opportunities to do so?
  • Do I share credit and acknowledge good work in others?
  • Do I encourage others?
  • Do I treat others with respect?
  • Am I a person other people want to work with?

If your assessment suggests that there’s room for you to improve in your team skills, why not give it a try? No one is perfect, but people who collaborate as teammates can do great things together. Up your game in the teamwork department, and see how it improves your professional products, interpersonal relationships, and job satisfaction! That’s what all of us at QIP are continually striving to do.