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Monday 31 December 2018

Secrets of successful collaboration: 11. do not equate growing informality with diminishing respect and loss of credibility

Representatives of national and local governments and agencies, members of professions, masters of trades: all of these and many others often associate growing informality with diminishing respect and loss of credibility. The degree to which they do this depends on their traditions, cultures, perceptions of themselves, and their expectations about how they should be treated (and how much these things are perceived to be at risk from increased informality).

Where the above degree of association is marked, it will strongly affect the interactions between people: in an attempt to safeguard respect and credibility, the majority of interactions will be consistently and reassuringly formal.

The language you use when speaking to others (and the language others are expected to use when speaking to you); the way you approach and address others (and the way others are expected to address you); the way you manage meetings and discussions (and the way others are expected to manage meetings and discussions); whom you have access to and when and how you have access to them (and who has access to you and when and how they have access to you): where growing informality is associated with diminishing respect and loss of credibility, all these things (and more) will construct a bulwark of formality.  

Additionally, where there is a significant power difference between people, the association of informality with diminishing respect and loss of credibility can eventually develop into a "Status Trap". To find out more about this trap click here.

However, as the beginning of this post makes clear, the common association made between growing informality and diminishing respect is often inaccurate. In fact, through enabling increased understanding between partners and encouraging them to collaborate not only professionally but also personally, the well-balanced and appropriately managed growth of informality is likely to increase mutual respect and enhance each partner's credibility.

Do not, therefore, allow habitual insecurities about loss of respect and diminished power to rule your thinking and actions.

To read the full post click here.

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