Why Cooperation and Collaboration is Essential in Today’s Workforce

There are many career fields now where men and women are integrated together. And, when you stop to think about it—even if there’s a career field where it’s predominantly one gender or the other, there is gender overlap either when buying products or services from vendors or serving customers. The way to reduce gender conflict is by focusing on strengths. By intentionally becoming aware of how to use both masculine and feminine communication skills you can give not only yourself, but your company as well, the advantage over your competition when it comes to productivity and creativity. Rapport building is a great way to foster cooperation and collaboration within your company and to obtain repeat customers.
As an individual reading this article you are becoming more cognizant of how masculine and feminine communication skills can be used interchangeably, by both sexes, for greater cooperation and collaboration. Becoming aware of the social skills involved, and then mindfully choosing to use both styles of communication will help you be a better communicator at work (and at home!).
Today we’re focusing on how to build rapport, a skill set women often acquire more naturally due to social conditioning and because they tend to communicate, commiserate, show compassion, and connect with others when under duress based on their physiology. In fact, physiologically, women produce their stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin, when they do just that—connect and nurture relationships with others.
When both men and women focus on beefing up their rapport with others, then the entire group (both employees and customers) benefit. Value is placed on what often makes or breaks a company—turning a product or service into profit. This is because the focus is on people enjoying the experience of working to sell or buy the product or service.
Building rapport is a skill that both men and women can benefit from in the workplace. By taking a moment every day to check-in with one another the workplace climate can change from friction and one-upmanship to one that’s more team oriented. This is critical in a workforce that employs both men and women. Put it into context with a young child picking up a toy strewn room. If you’ve picked a room up with a child, you know it is more about picking the toys up together, rather than putting the toys away that makes them feel accepted and like they did something well. When anyone feels like they matter, then typically their performance increases because peer pressure revolves around connection and positive reinforcement.
Women tend to ask others for their input when making decisions, because to them it is important to hear and value what other’s think and feel about the situation. Even in a quick-paced working environment where seconds count, eye contact, nods of the head, can mean the difference between if someone has your back, and if everyone’s on the same page or not.
You build rapport by actively listening to others. Be genuinely interested in someone—whether it’s how potty training is going with their daughter, how they’re coping with a sick parent, or how the work deadline caused them to miss their anniversary—listen with interest. This does not mean a fifteen minute or even a five minute chat every day—it’s a quick check-in as easy as asking, “hey, how is your day?” Stop. Listen to the answer. Respond by rephrasing or repeating back what they said and using empathy. Then, get down to business.
You can also build rapport by observing and responding to nonverbal body cues. Quick check-ins with my Marines as a Marine Corps Officer was invaluable when time was critical. I knew my Marines body language, their moods, and how to motivate each one as individuals. Instead of forcing my will or decisions, I relied on my strength of listening with my ears and reading emotional moods to make decisions that were good not just for the end result, but the people involved as well.
As my yoga teacher challenges us each week with mindfulness homework, let me do the same with you. Your homework is a two-fold challenge. In the next week notice how building rapport benefits the quality of your productivity and creativity. Then challenge your company to do the same. Hire a Mars Venus Coach to go over gender strengths and do DISC profiling with your company for your professional development training, or if there isn’t a Mars Venus Coach in your local area have employees take the online eWorkshop: Mars and Venus in the Workplace. It’s not enough just to read about gender intelligence, you have to put the knowledge into actions by interacting in better ways with others.
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations