Four Tips to Boost Creative Collaboration at Work

As deadlines loom, chances are you may need to roll up your sleeves and work with other teams to get the job done. Especially if you’re a freelancer, you may seek to expand your business to the tune of collaborative projects.

Well, according to a piece on Forbes, there are a few ways to bolster creativity when combining forces. And not it’s not just about boosting creativity. When you’re working on a team in particular there are ways to amp up the collaboration quotient, too.

1. Sign on the dotted line. As Dina Gachman points out in the piece, this may be difficult for creative types like us who like to do just that — write, think and create but for independent workers, paperwork is a necessity.

She writes in the piece, “For most collaborators, signing a contract right off the bat is a no-brainer. Not so much for ‘creative types.’ We paint and sing and dance. What we do is ethereal so why do we need to taint it with confusing, mundane legalese? Because you’ll get screwed if you don’t that’s why….Six months down the road, you’ll sleep easier knowing it’s in place. Trust me.”

2. Listen. Let’s say you’re the brains behind a project and your new business partner is a whiz, too. Don’t marry yourself to your idea and instead, be flexible. Listen up and let your business partner provide his or her input as well.

She indicates, “One of the best things about collaboration is that you can make each other better. You raise each other’s game, if you’re not a stubborn egomaniac about everything.”

3. Accept their style. Ah, just as we need to remove the stubborn factor in order to help each other soar to new heights together, we also need to accept each other’s work style. This entails differences as well. Maybe you’re a bit impatient and tend to rush things through and let adrenaline take over. That’s completely fine but if your creative teammates are more methodical, remember to take deep breaths and be patient. Chances are, they need to be patient with your style as well.

Gachman adds, “I’ve learned that it’s OK and even wise not to jump head-first into things at times, and I’ve shown partners that over-thinking a decision can sometimes be detrimental. It’s not your way or the highway – you’re a team, right?”

4. Know when to walk away. Remember the Kenny Rogers song, “The Gambler,” about knowing when to fold ’em, knowing when to walk away and knowing when to run? Well, if you’re a freelancer you need to know what works and what doesn’t, and when to call it quits. (And if you’re an internal employee, chances are you’re stuck working with the collaborators. Sorry!)

Let’s say disagreements begin to become the norm and you’ve just about had it with your partnership. It’s time to re-evaluate to see if this is worth your time and energy.

Gachman advises in the blog post, “Step away for an hour, a week, a month, and see where you’re at. Then jump in again – with an open mind and your paperwork in place.”