The cooperative person understands what it takes to work well with others. They realize the importance of the team, the role played by each member, and the ability of collaborating effectively within the team to complete something; given any existing constraints. Here we look at what it means to be a cooperative person and the 10 positive cooperative characteristics they commonly possess. The benefits of being cooperative in a collaborative environment; including at work and in any relationship. And, 6 tips on how to become more cooperative if you’re looking to expand your talent or sharpen your skills.
Cooperative Meaning and Definition
Merriam-Webster's COOPERATIVE definition (adjective to describe a person) is: marked by a willingness and ability to work with others; cooperation.
True Mydentity likes to add some meat to those bones.
The cooperative person does not simply operate in a cooperative manner at work. It is not JUST a career skill. It is a powerful trait that some people are really good at using throughout a variety of relationships, and it can help them to excel in their learning, career and the well-being of any personal or professional relationship.
Working together and collaborating on anything; whether it’s carrying the sofa from the garage to the upstairs bedroom, or working on a multi-million dollar space exploration project with a 20-person cross functional team; all require the ability to work well with other people to accomplish something.
The cooperative person is the quintessential “team player.” They know their role and responsibilities on the team, and they have a good understanding of what the other team members are responsible for. They will do their job well for the benefit of the team, because the success of the team is what matters most.
And that team can include:
- Spouse or partner
- Family members or unit
- Their friends
- Organized sports teams or competitions
- Co-workers or peers
- Cross functional team
- Their employer, department, etc.
The skill and talents of the cooperative character typically find a way to work well together with all of these people.
If you have a little time, complete our questionnaire to find out if being cooperative is one of your dominant positive characteristics. Or simply read on to learn more about what it means to be a cooperative person.
10 Positive Characteristics of the Cooperative Person
- CONFIDENT - The cooperative person must be confident in their knowledge, skills and abilities to represent themselves, their team or their organization in a collaborative session with other people who represent other interests. This helps to surface opportunities and potential issues when working with other people; who represent other groups, departments or organizations.
- DISCIPLINED - A cooperative person must work within the predefined rules or guidelines set by the collaborative project and the organization, and deliver upon their responsibilities as assigned. This includes personal relationships as well.
- FAIR - The cooperative person values different opinions, expertise and backgrounds. They are willing to compromise for the greater good. They are also willing to fight if not being treated fairly, or something is not for the betterment of the team.
- FOCUSED - They understand their role and they know their responsibilities. They show up to meetings ready to participate, provide insight, and are attentive when other team members are sharing.
- HONEST - Will present potential opportunities, and more importantly, inform everyone when something is at risk or was unsuccessful; even if the responsibility falls entirely on them. When everyone on the team understands the real issue, then the team can attempt to find a real solution.
- MOTIVATED - Cooperative people are motivated by doing the work needed to successfully complete a project, AND meeting or exceeding the collaborative team’s goals.
- ORGANIZED - The strong cooperative person typically has clearly laid out plans, including a timeline with tasks and responsible parties. They tend to know who to communicate with and what details to share because they understand how it all works together. They know how to handle changes (or they’ll figure out how), and who needs to be informed so things get done appropriately and on time.
- PERCEPTIVE - If a team member reports something is late or delayed, the cooperative person will typically realize how that will affect their role and deliverables; but also how it may affect other parts of the project or team due to their ability to understand how things need to work together. They may, “see the writing on the wall” due to their past experience or knowledge.
- RELIABLE - A cooperative person is typically extremely reliable because they understand their role, and the importance of their role to the success of the team (or the project). They understand if they fall short on delivering their to-dos, the team falls short, and the cooperative person will do all they can to avoid that from happening. And, if for some reason their responsibilities do fall short, the cooperative person will do all they can to get the team back on track.
- RESPECTFUL - Being cooperative means you understand each collaborative team member plays a specific and vital role to the success of the team. Therefore, each team member must be respected for their wealth of knowledge and know-how as a contributor to the overall success of the project. And if a team member needs help, the collaborative person may step up and assist where possible.
Benefits of Being a Cooperative Person
Being Cooperative in Your Career
There are not many careers where you work entirely alone. More than likely you will be working together with other people on solving issues faced by your employer or organization. Your ability to do this well may have an effect on your job performance and career path. Having a strong and dominant cooperative character trait allows you to prioritize working well with other people.
Take advantage of any opportunities to collaborate with others that your employer may offer you. Being cooperative will likely put you in a position to participate in important projects and initiatives that require cross functional team collaboration. It will provide the ability to handle challenges that arise when collaborating on complex problems; with different personalities who each have their own agenda and timeline. The opportunity to attach your name to important projects and initiatives generally gives you a leg up. Your cooperative characteristics may eventually translate to bigger opportunities such as project leadership roles, a promotion, or a raise.
Employers want talented, skilled employees who are great at working together. Good leaders will try to find these employees within their ranks and put them in a position to grow and persevere. This is a win-win scenario because it helps the employee’s career growth and likely their job satisfaction; while it also improves the health of the organization through the strong efforts of the employee. Therefore good leaders tend to keep an eye on the efforts of a cooperative employee who works well with others, and effectively gets the job done.
One of the greatest benefits of being a cooperative person is the respect and trust you earn among your peers, and fellow collaborators (See Being Cooperative in Your Relationships).
Being Cooperative in Your Learning
The best way for cooperative people to leverage their talent for further learning is to put themselves out there and get involved. Find some community or online groups with similar interests where you can be an active participant in group activities. Something that helps you to develop skills or knowledge you want to expand.
Maybe volunteer with nonprofits or community organizations who could use another able body/mind to get some of their initiatives done. Try to find organizations that align with your interests and/or values so your effort goes toward something you care about.
These activities will offer the type of learning where you can do some good with your cooperative character’s power, further build out your network, and learn some new skills.
Being Cooperative in Your Relationships
Being cooperative in a collaborative environment is a great relationship building opportunity. They say when people experience the same challenges and successfully find solutions to those challenges; the level of respect, appreciation and trust grows exponentially.
This goes for any relationship; personal or professional, family, lover or friend; where people come together and face challenges together. The experience can bring people closer and build a stronger bond if all participants put in the effort to reach the goal. If some do not feel it is worth cooperating and coordinating their efforts, or do not share in the desire to attain the same goal, then the experience may pull people apart.
Every relationship benefits from a cooperative mind set; where all parties involved are willing and able to work together; regardless of how tough things get.
6 Tips on How to be More Cooperative
These tips are outlined more for a collaborative work or learning environment, but they are completely applicable to relationships between two individuals, a group of friends or family members.
- KNOW YOURSELF: When you know your top character traits and skills it is easier to see how you can help the team or organization with particular projects or tasks. This gives you the opportunity to leverage your best traits and know-how to take on any unforeseen challenges, and assist the team achieve its goals; which is generally appreciated by all participants and share-holders.
- BE CURIOUS: Ask questions. Get clarification. Learn about the other team members, their roles and how their responsibilities intertwine with yours. The more you and others understand how things work together, the more likely you and the team are to avoid anything slipping through the cracks.
- LISTEN: Each team member brings a unique perspective that is valuable to the success of the team and/or project. What they communicate is valuable to the team, and may be directly involved in accomplishing what you need done. Comprehending all that your fellow team members communicate will help to assure you’re the most informed, and understand what you need to accomplish at any given time.
- COMMUNICATE: Keep all team members informed regarding your involvement and practices. Try to keep it succinct and to the point. The general rule is it’s best to over communicate to avoid anything getting missed. However, some say if you’re a member of a team, you should understand the roles of the people involved, and be able to share appropriate information with the most appropriate people.
- COMPROMISE: Priority #1 is the project (or goal to be attained). Priority #2 is the team responsible for completing the project or attaining the goal. Priority #3 is the team member and contributor responsible for completing their work on the project. That said, if your solution to the issue is what’s best for your needs, but it is not in the best interest of the project or the team reaching its goal, you will likely need to compromise on an alternative solution. Having the willingness to compromise and do what’s best for the project and/or team, even if there are unfortunate repercussions you will need to handle, definitely makes you a more cooperative person.
- APPRECIATE: When you appreciate something, tell that person. If you admire something a team member did, tell that team member. If you are impressed with all that the team accomplished, make it known. Part of being a cooperative person is celebrating the victories and admiring the accomplishments.
Cooperative - True Mydentity Style
True Mydentity offers designs on our clothes that highlight 58 positive character traits. The powerful cooperative trait is one of the 58 character traits featured. We believe if you know your dominant positive characteristics; and focus on what you do to learn, work and build relationships using these dominant traits; you will feel more fulfilled and closer to your purpose. And as you improve upon leveraging these positive character traits in your learning, work and relationships; you move toward discovering your full potential.
If you are a cooperative person, reinforce its power and proclaim it with True Mydentity clothes. As they are comfortably casual for the authentic and empowered person.
Complete the questionnaire and find out which of the 58 traits are your most dominant.