Professional Relationships Part 4: The Colleague

Professional Relationships Part 4:  The Colleague
Sunday musings...

Please recognize the colleague is not necessarily the peer.  Two very different places of being.

Your colleagues are those fellow singers/actors who work along side you, and you along side them.

This professional relationship is crucial to how comfortable your business process will be - from auditioning to rehearsals to performance.

You don't need to like each other - but you need to respect the other's reason for being there.  If not, a rehearsal or performance can be an ultimate disaster.

You don't need to like what that colleague does - but you need to respect the process and the fact that they are and you need to work together.  Figure out a way to make it work!

A simple reminder: "TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WOULD WISH TO BE TREATED" will serve you well in the professional colleague situation.

If there are issues, go through the proper channels.

Here are the big no-nos in rehearsal/performance with your colleagues.

1.  DO NOT give directorial notes to your colleagues.  This is the job of the director.

2.  DO NOT give vocal notes to your colleagues.  You are not their teacher.

You are there to work and create and develop trust.  If someone decides they are more important and begin to spew their marvellous wisdom without being asked,  simply walk away and or tell them where you get that information from!  "I take my notes from the director"  or "My voice teacher and I will deal with my voice" will either shut them up or put them on the defensive.  Bottom line, they have NO BUSINESS speaking to a colleague like that.

If you have a problem with a colleague/a concern about a colleague - go to you SM or director.  Go to your MD.  Just make sure YOU are doing your job.

If we were more concerned about doing our OWN work,  perhaps each of us would bring a stronger balance to a rehearsal and performance  instead of trying to "fix" others.

The collegial relationship is not a personal one.  Personal relationships can and often do develop through working together, but ultimately those colleagues are work relationships in that context.

The work comes first.

Mutual respect for just being there and being hired to do a job must be intact.

A colleague earns their way out of that mutual respect when they refuse to acknowledge what they must bring to a role;  bring to their craft; dismiss and disregard the needs and professionalism of a colleague or the process.

You don't need to like the person you work with, but you need to respect the position of the colleague.  This will help to keep the perspective.

We are all part of a process,  and after that process is over, we may and often do, run into those colleagues again.  Often the colleague can be an ongoing professional relationship that creates more possibilities for work!

You very often will be asked for a recommendation.  A colleague that was professional,  prepared,  respectful and ready to work will come to mind.  If you are that professional and prepared colleague, YOU will come to mind.

If the colleague chooses (and it IS a choice) to behave unprofessionally in ANY way - they are dismissed by their colleagues and never really get a second chance.

As with all these relationships,  know your boundaries;  know what you are there to DO;  be prepared to DO IT.  Don't make excuses;  don't create difficulties;  don't feel you are in the position to "fix" things or people.  Know your role and play it - as a colleague.

Often great colleagues will be more than happy to offer suggestions/advice WHEN ASKED.  They know what their strengths are and what their position is.  They do not demand attention that isn't theirs.  They do not push their weight around by telling their colleagues what they aren't doing and what they should be doing.

They are pliable, prepared and open.  They are ready to work,  ready to adjust,  ready to play!

They know how to take their work seriously, and how to laugh at themselves.

They are about process and clarity.  They hold others to the task they represent.  They will not take abuse of power,  overstepping of boundaries, or disregard of position.

They are always willing to go the extra mile for the sake of the production - to help a colleague if asked.

They are not stingy, rude, stupid or overbearing.

These are the colleagues you WANT to work with, and the colleagues you want to BE.

The Colleague Relationship can be a mutually rewarding one when both colleagues recognize the reason for the other!  They each bring the uniqueness of their process and craft to a place of exploration - together.  They can illuminate each other,  and lift each other up - or they can put their ego ahead of everything and ruin it all.

The choice is simple.  If you don't see it,  perhaps you'd be better off doing something on your own.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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