Leadership in Action: Using agreements to improve professional relationships

From our friend and inspiring leader, Ashley Newton, Freelance Technical Writer at Newton Languages.

The Issue:

As a freelance writer who works 99% remotely, I need to be very diligent about communication with colleagues. If I don't communicate enough with them, the consequence is a breakdown in teamwork, where individuals become siloed. This is particularly crucial for me, since I work with many different teams, each with their own needs. When I came to my first Crafted Leadership meeting I was feeling down, and through the emotional literacy exercise I realized that it felt like despite my efforts to be a team player, I wasn't having that effort reciprocated from my colleagues.

The Shift Move:

Through a subsequent Crafted Leadership meeting, I learned about making clear agreements. Since then I've posted reminders on my computer monitor to always look for ways to be transparent and communicate to my different teams, not just about requirements but also about the team's shared goals and vision. When I am counting on a team member to help support my work, I am trying to be more consistent in establishing a shared agreement about the scope of work and timeline. I have also taken time for self-reflection to evaluate my own strengths, and av

oid agreeing to work I can't realistically do without getting burnt out.

The Impact:   Impeccable agreements have helped me feel more satisfied in my professional relationships. They have also helped direct my focus to developing tools I can use as a freelancer to assess project scope and make more realistic estimates for new clients. Through improved emotional literacy I have also managed to avoid taking on projects that don't align with my strengths.



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