10 Top Qualities of a Great Collaborator


At one time or another, we’ve all needed to work with others to accomplish a given task or goal. Some of those experiences were great, others not so much. Did you ever stop to wonder why that is so?

Companies can’t make forward progress if their employees can’t work well together. Time has shown that without successful collaboration, companies are doomed to fail.

Great collaboration starts with the people. So if you want to get ahead in your career, developing these specific characteristics can help ensure that people will always want you on their team:


Great collaborators check their egos at the door. They’re more interested in helping everyone achieve the mutual goal than they are about getting credit for any part they play in it. The Three Musketeers’ motto, “One for all and all for one!” is totally true.


They give unstintingly of their knowledge, skills, help, and encouragement. In short, whatever the team needs, they find a way to provide as best they can and with a big smile.


They’re good at asking the right questions at the right time. Questions that help uncover the missing pieces needed to complete the task. They don’t interrogate, they simply follow their natural curiosity.


The best collaborators always express sincere appreciation and thanks for all that you have done. They go out of their way to make sure you know it. They’re not shy about expressing this appreciation to the entire team and anyone else who will listen. They always give credit where credit is due.

Listens to Understand

Most people tolerate someone else’s words, waiting impatiently for them to finish so they can make their point. Great collaborators listen raptly to what is being said to make sure they understand the speaker even going to the extent of asking follow-up questions for clarification.


Smart collaborators know that not everything happens as planned, or in a logical sequence. Stuff happens and they go with the flow. They know that bending with the wind helps them survive another day rather than being rigid, fighting the wind and losing a limb.

Connects the Dots or Creates the Dots

There are dot-connectors and dot-creators. People who either are deeply expert in something versus people who know how different things work together. Great collaborators can be either — helping creators understand how all their dots connect or helping connectors find all of the right dots.

Give and Expect Trust

A team needs to feel safe about sharing their thoughts, ideas, and work. They don’t want to be blind-sided, having someone take advantage of them simply because they’re not as flamboyant as others. Great connectors help create and maintain that environment of trust so necessary for a team to thrive. They give their trust freely and expect to receive your trust in return.


The best collaborators are semi-obsessed with organization and time management. And while they may not lead the team, they may very well hold the key to deliver it.

Self-motivated / Inspiring

Great collaborators don’t need much to get them going. There’s an inner fire, a passion that keeps them moving forward. Consequently they also tend to be very inspiring to team members and help them remember why they signed up for this gig in the first place.


The best collaborators know that not everyone on the team will like them (or vice versa), no matter how hard they may try. What they have figured out is that mutual respect goes far further.

Originally published at www.samepage.io on February 24, 2015.



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Elise Hymes

Sr. Manager, Content Marketing @avisoinc| Lover of my family, travel, rescue dogs, fashion, food and the beach