The Value of Supporting Your Fellow Colleagues
November 7, 2019
Although JFK gets credit for coining the phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” it was actually a slogan for a Massachusetts regional chamber of commerce. However, it was one Kennedy used often in his speeches. He used it to mean that when there is success in one area, other areas also benefit. He used this to reference the economy and trade among other things. In my experience, it can also be applied to supporting your colleagues for the benefit of all.
I’m lucky because at Goodwin College, there are four of us who head up programs and departments – both credit and non-credit, and we continually support one another. In fact, that support extends beyond the four of us, it occurs across the college. Our support comes in many forms, such as listening, brainstorming, collaborating, solving issues together, asking for advice, etc. This support has helped generate ideas, launch new programs, support student needs, create dialogue, solve problems, and even provide reassurance. Some of this happens in a more formal setting through meetings, and other times it occurs while standing in the kitchen making a cup of tea or running into one another in the hall. What we know, is that we’ve got each other’s backs. We relish the opportunity to be supportive to achieve both individual and collective goals.
While there are many benefits to supporting your colleagues – some tangible, others less so, three specific benefits stand out:
My colleagues and I collaborate on a regular basis. It might be something as simple as, “Hey, I saw this article and your students might find it interesting” or “Can you help me wrap my head around this idea” or “I think my students would benefit from a course like this, can we collaborate?” This type of cooperation not only brings us together as one, but it ensures that we meet the needs of our students. This is true in the corporate world as well. A shared vision, steeped in collaboration, ensures we have one another’s back, which ultimately ensures the student or the consumer gets the best product, customer service, and so forth.
Pulling Down Silos
Let’s face it, there are many silos out there and some folks fight hard to remain in those silos. But, through our collaboration with one another, we have effectively ensured none of us are siloed. While our work may differ in many ways, we have a shared vision, and we see value in leaning on one another for suggestions, advice, etc. Sometimes, it is the mere fact that we are different, that becomes valuable, such as offering a different perspective. This keeps us adaptable, which means we are better able to respond to the needs of our students or in the corporate world, the customers.
It should never be all about us, our programs, our product line, or our business model. When we cross promote, it also benefits us. More importantly, this symbiotic relationship benefits the consumer – in our case, the student. But it is about more than just the bottom line. When you cross promote a colleague, you demonstrate your confidence in them and what they are doing, your willingness to collaborate, and you elevate them in your network. In the end, to use and old cliché – what goes around, comes around.
As I have stated, I am lucky to work in an environment where we all value supporting one another. In fact, collaboration is the first value on our list of core values for our college. We do it knowingly and unknowingly, in formal meetings, and in the hallway, and we are all the better for it, and as a result, our students are also better for it.
Be open to how you can support your colleagues, how you can collaborate, pull down those silos, and promote others. If your work environment is not supportive, then lead the way. The benefits are many.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies
Source: A Rising Tide...