Collaborate without being a pushover

by Sophie Roussel-Berger
March 2022



Collaboration is a real team effort. It is a relationship based on trust, communication and common investment but above all on frankness and honesty. You will not be able to collaborate with someone who does not listen to you and who gives you "orders" without taking into account your availability or your ability to perform the tasks. Sharing a project means creating guidelines based on the result you want to achieve together.
To share a project is to become a family for a few hours, a few days or even a few months, it is to move together in the same direction, united and connected to each other.

The ability to assert oneself

Even in the workplace, it is important to express your emotions, thoughts and opinions, to defend your rights while respecting those of others, in a clear, honest and appropriate way. Accepting a job on a Sunday morning when you had planned a walk with your children, correcting a text or making a complex table with hundreds of data or even answering emails while you are in the middle of a family meal, just because it is "urgent", is not respecting the values of collaboration. Saying yes to everything, simply so in order not to disappoint, for fear of hurting or creating conflict, is not the solution. Like many assistants, we invest ourselves fully together in our missions, we sometimes accept, or even often, for files or projects that are more important to us than others, to work hours without counting them, to think about various solutions during very short nights and to solicit the opinions and skills of our team members during the weekend or on a bank holiday. However, it is important to distinguish between the two things. To say no is not forbidden, it is to highlight the respect we have for ourselves.

Share the same goal

The key word is: together. You are collaborators and not competitors, it is not a competition or an individual performance but a real union. Keep your mind open to the opportunities the other person brings you, the knowledge you can gain, and the relationships you can develop. Trust yourself, trust others and take the same path to reach your destination. All the actions you will carry out together will be a satisfaction, not only by their results but by your ability to achieve them hand in hand. And for this, transparency, efficiency, positivity, trust, accountability and communication are essential to the longevity and solidity of your collaboration.

Meet the right people

During my last project, I had the honor of working with great people. But it is mainly thanks to the connections made, during events organized by the association IMA (International Management Assistants), that I was able to organize, with an exceptional assistant from my team, an aperitif for 200 people during the MIPIM in Cannes, which took place from 15 to 18 March 2022, an world class event. Without these encounters, I would not have had this great opportunity and I would not have been able to carry it out. An assistant who entrusts one project to another goes beyond the limits of collaboration, it is absolute trust.
You will not always rub shoulders with the right people, some will be far from the image you have of the ideal partner, but when you meet them, you will know it! There will not be only one, they will all be different, with their specialties and their defects, they will be complementary to you, you will be THE ultimate business team. They will not try to surpass you, they will not execute the missions by obligations, they will not answer your emails on a Sunday at noon and they will not say yes to everything. They will be honest, reliable, faithful and they will express their limit with ease.

A united team

Communicate. It is important to express yourself and exchange with all the means at your disposal to share as much information as possible in order to avoid any misunderstanding and misunderstanding. A united team is a team that exchanges. Sometimes a single sentence can change the course of a project. To communicate with confidence, keep in mind that you are all on the same boat, ready to fight for the same treasure, to the same island, each with your own arms but with the same map.
You may have this kind of team, you know how to listen to each other, you respect each other and you collaborate without being trampled on, or trampling on others.

Translation: Jennifer Chamberlin