Collaborative Leadership | Sue Coyne

Collaborative Leadership

What is it Collaborative Leadership?

Collaborative leadership is all about creating an inclusive environment – this enhances creativity, increases productivity and energises team members. When you enable people to collaborate effectively, you are harnessing the brain power and skills of each individual within your organisation.

In the workplace, the best ‘brains’ aren’t necessarily at the top. Senior managers may have experience, wisdom and an understanding of strategy, but good ideas, talent and enterprise can come from anywhere in the business. Collaborative leadership recognises that everyone in the business is co-creating the future for the business.

How does collaborative leadership help an organisation?

Organisations are made up of different departments. . These departments often have a knack of turning into silos each with their own focus and agenda.. Silos are the antitheses of collaboration and can be very destructive to the overall effectiveness of an organisation.

The collaborative leader’s speciality is connecting with people and encouraging them to in turn connect with other people in order to more effectively work together. This sort of connectivity is the antidote to silos, and helps to effectively break down these figurative walls – through communication, listening and sharing ideas. The collaborative leader strikes up conversations, shares information and builds trust with ease. They use these abilities to connect individuals up with other people in order to create mutually beneficial relationships.

They are good people readers and can quickly pick up on what a person’s talents, strengths and weaknesses. The brain of a collaborative leader then joins the dots and encourages people to link up with others who complement them, or to get involved in something which plays to their strengths or takes them to their learning edge.

Collaborative leaders often have teams built on diverse talents – however this diversity will only be beneficial if the team is well led. The leader’s talent lies in piecing together the various skills and niches of their team members to create a whole that is productive, beneficial and dynamic.

Left to their own devices, people gravitate to like-minded people. This homogeneity limits success – as essentially you have two people bouncing off the same wavelength. Instead, a collaborative leader gathers together people of very different backgrounds, mindsets, nationalities, beliefs and training to create what, from the outside, might look like an unlikely team. Of course, it is the collaborative leader’s skill that brings these diverse talents together to move towards a shared vision.

The result is a team of people who are conscious of their roles, and are recognised for the skills and talents that they bring. The team is kept fresh by ensuring that new recruits bring different ideas and thoughts to the table.

Developing this skill allows leaders to recognise and develop talent – and to appreciate the skills and abilities of other senior leaders. Collaborative leadership improves relationships between senior leaders and throughout the organisation, through preventing a negative competitive ethos and showing that through collaboration, extraordinarily powerful things can happen for individuals, the team and the organisation.

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