Collaborative Leadership

This is a collective, inclusive approach where leadership is shared; furthermore, with the distinction between leaders and followers is blurred.

It is defined as

"...facilitating constructive interpersonal connections and activities between people and between heterogeneous groups to achieve shared goals. It is proactive and purpose-driven..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

Collaborative leadership has a positive impact on

- team interaction plus effectiveness and performance

- broader collaboration and coordination

- creativity and innovation

It is both an opportunity and a challenge that goes beyond

"...the polite, thoughtful behaviour of involving others, sharing information, and lending strength where it is needed..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

To achieve effective collaboration, you need to

- identify an issue worthy of collaboration, ie

"...for collaboration to be purposeful and sustainable, it needs to meet all parties' true interest, warrant their time, and help them achieve their core objectives......highlight why collaboration matters......What difference it will make, and encourage other project participants to create the time and space it deserves..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

- purpose-driven, ie clear, achievable goals and objectives

- proactive rather than reactive, ie especially around areas of possible conflict and differences

- transparent, especially about what matters to you and other participants; how values are played out at a behavioural level, ie what does transparency look like in practice?; what does success mean, including the process of getting there? Give examples; encourage honest conversations exploring reality, ie  what is great, what's challenging, what feels limiting or restrictive?

- flexible, ie continually reviewing your collaborative effort and making adjustments as required

- commitment, ie prioritising, learning from the past and not living in it

- focus on each participant's interests rather than positions, ie concentrate on common ground by asking the following questions:

    i) what is most important to you here?

    ii) what really matters?

- understand that teamwork is different to working as individuals, ie in collaboration the goals, positions, etc may not be the same.

- encourage openness and foster trust, ie sharing personally what your main drivers are

- being an agent and a target of influence, ie influencing people towards a common goal

- be open to alternative ideas, ie encourage creativity

- be inquisitive to understand the basis of other people's points of view, ie respect differing points of view, etc

- recognise others values and what they add, ie explore and understand each other's strengths, weaknesses, expertise, diversity, etc

- dividing roles and responsibilities within the shared ownership of the goal, ie determine who was responsible for what early on in the process and be willing to modify as things proceed; be prepared to hold one another accountable

- understanding gap between intention and impact

- participants feel free to challenge each other, ie on thinking, behaviour, decisions, etc; willing to confront each other, especially those with whom we have the closest relationships

In summary, collaboration requires you to be humble ('2 heads are better than one'), courageous (willing to take risks) and vulnerable (willing to expose your flaws)


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