The Value of Collaboration for Leaders
Last week, I had the honor of sitting in a room with 22 leaders who inspired me.
These leaders have taken on a challenge few of us would be willing to attempt: increasing collaboration in an organization that does not reward it.
The fact is, many organizations have structures and systems that value the right answers over collaboration. But in an age of increasing business and market complexity, agile and lean management practices, and flatter organizational structures, collaboration is essential.
While I’m quite certain that no one leader in that organization would disagree with the values of collaboration, many don’t realize that, because their systems don’t reward it, it’s currently not safe to practice it.
What Does It Take To Be a Leader of Collaboration?
Here are some of the traits I observed while sitting with this remarkable group of leaders:
Collaboration Takes Courage
Courage to acknowledge the fear of trying to lead this work. Courage to step out and create their own vision for what this could be. Courage to be closer to their hopeful vision rather than letting the fear win out.
Collaboration Takes Vision
They had vision! Vision for the kind of leaders they wanted to be and the impact they wanted to have on others. Wow was it powerful!
Collaboration Takes Humility
Leaders of collaboration have powerful questions, not powerful answers. They let go of needing to lead from the front and find power in leading from behind. It comes from a belief that others are capable of creating their own solutions. If we take up too much space in the room we don’t leave room for others.
Collaboration Takes Humanness
They were human! This was tough work! They were wrestling with the challenge of what Peter Senge calls ‘creative tension’ – the gap between our vision and current reality. Importantly, they acknowledged it! That’s half the battle right there.
They built their own colleague network to support this journey. It will be tough and they will need each other to help pave the way.
Aren’t you excited for them? I know I am!
Where are you at in your journey of leading collaboration?
Leadership Lessons To Remember
- Leaders exist at ALL levels.
- Leaders are made not born.
- Leaders create the weather and create new value from difference.