Whether you notice it or not, Dr. Hannan said, you’re developing a style as a leader and colleague. This style is shaped by your willingness or unwillingness to learn from colleagues and to teach what you know; knowing your strengths, weaknesses and biases when you’re working with a group; and looking for the traits of a good collaboration and modeling yourself after those.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2019
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Collaboration … is interacting with peers, & this is best accomplished without sharp lines of authority or rank.
“All of us have been in horrible meetings, all of us have had horrible collaborations—from age 7 onward, we’ve been forced to do group projects, and there’s always this one person who’s a real pain in the neck in the group,” she said. “Yeah, we can complain about that. … Also, we need to look for markers of good collaborations—who are the people who are the good collaborators in the group? And I need to model myself on who those good collaborators are.”
Dr. Hannan said that something it took a while for her to appreciate is that life doesn’t move along in a nice, linear fashion. Therefore, if you wait for everything to fit neatly into place so the steps leading to career success fall like dominos, you may be frustrated. It’s okay, even necessary, to take “calculated leaps.”
“We often, on a daily basis, make intelligent choices from very thin data,” she said. “This implies we can’t wait for the domino effect for everything in our life. If you do that, your career takes a really long time.”
She encouraged the audience to distinguish between “résumé virtues”—such as getting a professorship at a young age—from the “eulogy virtues”—such as kindness and patience.
“The eulogy virtues are most meaningful to us.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance writer living in South Florida.