Organizations today are increasingly collaborative across interdependent teams. But collaboration can have two sides: It can lead to improved outcomes and intrinsic motivation, or it can significantly slow down decision-making and result in ongoing engagement that takes up most employees' time.
First discussing specific questions with your new colleague will enable you to work together more effectively and ensure a positive working relationship.
Ask: What are our goals and process for this project?
Articulate each person's definition of success and vision of the path ahead. The goal is to ensure that both move in the same direction and don't work at cross purposes.
Ask: Who will do what, and by when?
Knowing who is responsible for what will help balance the workload, avoid duplicate work, and preempt territorial behaviour. Establishing accountability for progress on various deliverables can create greater clarity and increase the likelihood that goals will be met.
Ask: What are our individual preferred working styles and strengths?
Not understanding the differences in style can cause irritation or conflict. Understanding each other's strengths can help determine the division of labour.
Ask: When and how will we give each other feedback on our working relationship?
Establishing a process for feedback can build the relationship.
Ask: What do we need from each other to do our best work?
It is important to discuss this question if you have never met before. Understanding how you can support each other to do your best work is only possible is you are clear about your needs. If you feel like you tolerate something from your colleague, it is often an unspoken request you have yet to make.