Are you suffering from collaboration overload? 9 beliefs and fears that help drive it - Deepstash
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Collaboration overload

Collaboration overload

Roughly 50 percent of the collaboration overload problem is in the form of the beliefs we hold. These are the deeply held — and often unexamined — desires, needs, feelings, expectations, and fears centered on how we assume we need to show up for others each day.

These feelings motivate or trigger a tendency to jump into collaborations or help others when doing so is often not in our best interests or most beneficial to our organization.

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The desire to help others

If you jump in too quickly or too often, you can become a target for ever-expanding requests that prevent you from meeting your bigger goals.

Develop an awareness of why people beat a path to your door. Is it because you represent the route of least resistance? If so, learn to be comfortable saying no. 

It helps others become self-reliant. Shift your perspective from deriving satisfaction from helping to teaching people how to solve their problems.

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The sense of fulfillment from accomplishment

Small wins feel good, and they reinforce who we are and provide a shot of dopamine. But the desire to help and the satisfaction from accomplishment set up expectations in ourselves and others that can get out of control.

Practice avoiding activities that give you the rush of accomplishment for accomplishment’s sake by extracting yourself or giving partial direction while building others’ capabilities. If you must engage in a small task, remind yourself that good enough really is good enough.

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The desire to be influential/recognized for expertise

Don’t look for status in the expertise and knowledge that defined you yesterday. 

Let go of those old, familiar ways of interacting so you can create the space to develop in new ways as a leader who enables the team to take ownership and engage independently.

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Concern about being labeled a poor performer

We say yes early and often, so everyone knows how competent and responsive we are.

You may be concerned that saying no could impact you later, but there’s a limit to what you can handle. So instead of “yes” or “no”, offer choices, such as “What order would you like me to get these done in?” Create transparency into your capability and capacity and the volume of demands you are facing

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The need to be right

By being authentic about your limits and having the courage to ask questions, you not only reduce your unproductive activities but also create space for others, to be honest, and admit they don’t have the answers either.

Admit that you don’t know the exact answer but you’re able and willing to quickly find out. Establish this early on, at the beginning of a project or when you join a new group.

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Fear of losing control of a project

This trigger is often tied to people’s belief that they are the most capable of doing the work well. And if you’re reluctant to delegate or connect, you sentence yourself to a life of trying to do everything yourself, which is impossible.

But letting go will help you build capability in others and free up your own time to engage in work where you add the greatest value. Celebrate others’ solutions and resist the temptation to point out how you would have done it differently.

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Need for closure

This need can keep you working late at night trying to get that last little task accomplished when you no longer have the creativity or energy for it.

  • Remind yourself that closure — or an empty email inbox — should not be your sole priority. Let nonpriority work or requests wait or slide off your radar altogether.
  • Do you attend every meeting on your calendar? The reality is, They’re not equally important. Skip those where your input isn’t needed and see if people notice.

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Discomfort with ambiguity

The most efficient collaborators have an expansive tolerance for ambiguity. 

  • They focus on being directionally correct, making sure they are moving in the right general direction on the project. 
  • They remain open to adapting their ideas and plans as new information comes in.

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FOMO (Fear of missing out)

The fear of missing out on better projects, better colleagues, and better opportunities can become a persistent, nagging problem that won’t let you rest or stay in the moment. 

Too often, FOMO drives unproductive choices. So, we end up in projects that overburden us with collaboration and that aren’t well aligned with who we want to be or what we want to do with our lives.

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john_mq

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