Effective Collaborators 

Effective collaborators possess certain characteristics and assume specific roles in the group process.

Created by Kelly Hall May 1999.


Characteristics of Good and Poor Collaborators

The chart below identifies common characteristics of good and poor collaborators. If you are more like a poor collaborator than a good collaborator, think of ways to change your behavior and perspectives. Learning how to work well with others often requires patience and change.
 
 

 Good Collaborators

 Poor Collaborators

critique work in an honest and kind manner.

assert their viewpoint forcefully and offensively.

commit to the project and group goals.

put self-interest rather than group- interest first.

possess a "can-do" attitude.

possess a negative attitude.

laugh and have a sense of humor even under stress.

act powerless, defeated, and whiny.

keep an open-mind.

believe their way is the only way.

act responsibly and are reliable.

miss deadlines.

prepare for meetings.

do not do their share of the work.

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Roles Assumed by Good and Poor Collaborators


Task Roles are product-oriented and lead to success: 

Seeking information and opinions—asking questions, identifying gaps in the group's knowledge. 

Giving information and opinions—answering questions, providing relevant information. 

Summarizing—restating major points, pulling ideas together, summarizing decisions. 

Evaluating—comparing group process and products to standards and goals. 

Coordinating—-planning work, giving directions, and incorporating contributions of group members. 
 

Maintenance Roles keep harmony and goodwill by alleviating tension and disagreements. 

Encouraging participation—demonstrating openness and acceptance, recognizing the contributions of members, calling on quieter group members. 

Relieving tensions— joking and suggesting breaks and fun activities. 

Checking feelings—asking members how they feel about group activities and sharing one's own feelings with others. 

Solving interpersonal problems—opening discussion of interpersonal problems in the group and suggesting ways to solve them. 

Listening actively—showing group members that they have been heard and that their ideas are being taken seriously. 
 

Self-centered Roles negatively affect project tasks as well as the overall group process. 

Blocking—disagreeing with everything that is proposed. 

Dominating—trying to run the group by ordering, shutting out others, and insisting on one's own way. 

Clowning—making unproductive jokes and diverting the group from the task. 

Withdrawing—being silent in meetings, not contributing, not helping with the work, not attending meetings. 
 

"Leader" is not one of the three main types of group roles because several leaders can exist within one group, each in charge of a particular aspect of the collaborative process. In fact, group leaders normally assume a task role or a maintenance role, so if you're lucky, your group will have one leader in charge of project management and another in charge of providing emotional leadership by encouraging group participation. Another member may be the informational leader, helping generate content and ideas.

Take note that a collaborative role may be assigned to you, but your personality often determines the role for which you are best suited. 

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