Since you need to specialize to be a leader in any area today, you need a team to accomplish just about anything. So, if you don’t work well with others, you’ll finish in the also-ran category. Same for your functional group if it doesn’t work well with other groups. Sounds like kindergarten moralizing but a real issue for highly focused individuals.
Personal characteristics that help.
If getting along with others was a high value during your childhood, your collaboration skills may be well developed. If your empathy for others is very high, that helps too. If you’re not a compulsive direction-setter but are pleased to support the ideas of others, you’re likely a good collaborator. But, if you are just “normal” in these ways, you have to build skills. The same applies if your functional group doesn’t include a super-star collaborator to lead the way.
Core skills, but continuing challenge..
Effective collaboration is based on mutual understanding of views and needs, appreciation of and response to time constraints and aligning objectives of participants. Communication skills aid can be of help. But, much personal and team development literature emphasizes building on your strengths, rather worrying about your weaknesses. So what to do?
Enter Metaphor Mapping …
Try your best to be a good collaborator but give yourself an assist. Always ensure that your functional group and cross-functional teams understand each other and are clearly aligned on goals. Metaphor Mapping is the champion at this. Gather everyone together and in just a few hours you’ll have a common understanding and clear expectation of what each has to do for the others. The visual symbols do it at a gut level and make it memorable.