Are you a collaborative leader? Have you assessed your ability on how you bring together the talents of your team together? We know from the many books and blogs written on the subject that a collaborative leader has direct impact on the bottom-line by their unique style to eliminate or lessen the types of human behaviors that stall out the missions and strategies of organizations. These leaders also have a unique leadership style to break down barriers internally to allow resources, talent to be accessed without red-tape.
There are four key traits of collaborative leaders that stand out:
- A keen focus on being a “real” leader and disdain passive aggressive behaviors
- A relentless pursuit of transparent decision making to ensure clarity
- The ability to view resources as instruments of action and not just pieces to be shuffled
- To able to identify the relationship between decision rights, accountability and rewards for those who serve you.
Passive Aggressive Behavior and “Real” Leadership
For collaboration to succeed, a leader must be able to clear through behaviors that can derail their ability to bring everyone today. For example, those who may have passive aggressive tendencies are not going to help you focus your team on success. Passive aggressiveness is a subtle form of human behavior in which people find ways to undermine others. They often give agreement in a meeting, for example, but then proceed to take counterproductive action once the meeting is over. Or they might agree to help another team, but then are slow to follow through or put in a less than stellar effort on the assignment. You as the leader must be able to negate their tactics and not allow this to undermine your team.
Collaborative leaders are leaders who deal in reality – being real with themselves and others. There is no time for falsehoods when you are trying to bring your team together. You need buy in from all parties and means the leader must be able to follow through on their own commitments, be accountable and be honest about their intentions and actions. You cannot ask others do to what you are not willing to do yourself.
Clear Decisions For Clarity…
Decisions are always about making choices; it’s critical that you are clear about how you make them. Tell people your style and thought process for navigating the difficult and even those every day decisions. It may seem tedious but people feel more aligned with a leader who lets them behind the curtain of how the decisions are when know why they are being asked to perform a task. When it comes to decisions, a collaborative leader is always thinking about the impact their decision has on the collective as a whole. When you’re open and transparent about the answers to three questions — who made the decision, who is accountable for the outcomes of the decision, and is that accountability real — people in organizations spend far less time questioning how or why a decision was made. In reality, most of time when we disagree with decisions made by others we really don’t disagree as much with the “decision” as we do with approach to making the decision itself. Share your biases and tell war stories of how your successes and failures shaped these biases. We often hear the phrase “intelligent risk taking” — nothing empowers people to take good risks more than understanding the conditions for taking the risk in the first place.
As a leader, your responsibility is to document the critical decision and processes of your organization and communicate them to your team as often as you can. There was a time in business when hoarding information was a source of organizational power. Today, the reverse of this thought is true if you want to motivate a team that is increasingly agile and able to respond to market changes. Best practices should be shared not used as weapons internally for a leader’s personal gain.
Sharing Your Resources…
It’s not new to many that leaders will hoard their people and resources in organizations. For their own reasons, some leaders see that this type of management style will allow them to retain control over their domain. A collaborative leader will view resources as a share pool of talent and break down the barriers across departments by seeing the “big” picture. These resources are not just their own personal use; they are there for all and should be used in ways that benefit the organization as a whole.
View resources as instruments of action, not as possessions. The promise of flexibility and agility as an organization, inspired by establishing shared goals across organizational boundaries, is only attainable if you back it up by sharing resources as well. By unlocking these trapped resources, organizations can more quickly and successfully pursue emerging market opportunities.