Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What are the Characteristics of a Collaborative Person?

From my observations during the PfP project (reinforced by prior experience!), I concluded that a collaborative person typically possessed the following characteristics:

- Internal locus of control (depended on themselves for motivation; did not blame the external environment for their own inaction)
- Robust self-esteem (a positive self-regard, not dependent on others’ views)
- External orientation (outwardly looking)
- Engaged in lifelong-learning (pushing their own boundaries; developing new learning edges)
- Persistent and resilient (could take knocks and disappointments)
- Strong focus on relationships (valued others and connections with them)
- A bias towards innovation
- Passionate about meeting the needs of their client group

When I completed this list, I realized it resonated with Daniel Goleman’s concept of Emotional Intelligence. He identified the three core personal competencies that determine how we manage ourselves:
1. Self-awareness
2. Self-regulation
3. Motivation

He also identified two core social competencies that determine how we handle relationships:
1. Empathy (awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns)
2. Social skills (adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others)

I concluded from this that an indirect way to build collaboration in the VET sector is to help people in the sector to develop “emotional intelligence”. My own research and experience suggests that action learning is an excellent way to build emotional intelligence, particularly through the use of facilitated action learning projects.

(Note: This is an excerpt from my final report to Stakeholders and my presentation at the Cool Connections Conference in Sydney, 21-22 November.)


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