Leadership can take on many different styles depending on the person, situation, and organization. Some leaders remain front and center and are the final decision makers. They have a heavy hand on the company and know just how they want it to be run. While this may work in some cases, it is not the only way to assert oneself as a leader. There are those leaders who are highly successful by taking a different approach; they cultivate a collaborative environment where the most effective solutions are generated by the group as a whole rather than an individual.
A recent New York Times article highlights several traits that these types of leaders have in common:
- Collaborative leaders encourage cooperation
In some organizations, employers are working against each other rather than with each other. They are fighting for recognition and to be heard. Collaborative leaders level the playing field and focus on mutual gain. Employees leverage their strengths on targeted projects to optimize results. Their contributions make an impact and are combined with the strengths and skills of others. As a team they achieve more than a single person could.
- Collaborative leaders guide decision making
A collaborative leader identifies the end goal but does not dictate the path to take. They give teams the autonomy to figure out what works best and how they can move from point A to point B. There is often more than one effective way to achieve a goal, so the leader does not assume that their way is the only way. Employees feel more empowered and motivated because their input matters. The New York Times article notes, “… if you don’t give midlevel people the freedom to roam, you won’t attract creative people to those jobs. If you adopt a highly prescriptive set of workplace rules, then nobody can do anything bold.”
- Collaborative leaders embrace diversity
Not everyone follows the same train of the thought and people will not always agree. But disagreements can lead to progress. Seemingly unrelated ideas can be brought together to form a new approach when employees are guided by collaboration. Collaborative leaders have the ability to overlook small errors or opposition and use them as building blocks to strengthen relationships. They know that different ideas and viewpoints can help to form a more comprehensive and feasible solution.
- Collaborative leaders are human
They do not see themselves as being above everyone else. As the Times article states, “The collaborative leader lessens the power distance between himself and everybody else.” They take responsibility for their mistakes and know that they do not always have the answer. That is why they create high performing teams that are capable of driving the business forward. But at the same time, collaborative leaders are not afraid to step up to those who undermine the efforts of the group and are not working as part of the team.
Collaborative leaders exist across all industries and the impact and impression they make is noticed by others. They are trusted and respected. To take your leadership to the next level and embrace a more collaborative way of thinking, contact JP Kantor Consulting today. Find out how improving your leadership skills can change the dynamics of your business and improve the way you operate.