Five Tips for Collaborative Leaders

I once worked with the Director of a federal agency with a 7,000+ person workforce spread thinly over 70 countries. Together with the senior team we designed a change initiative that would only work if it led by volunteers. Mandating behavior change was not an option. Actually, this is no different than any other initiative. Nobody changes, unless they want to.

Leaders today are faced with a paradigm shift: moving from hierarchical command to a collaborative approach. Until recently executives were solely responsible for crafting their organization’s mission, strategy, and objectives. Their directives rolled down from on high and the workers were expected to execute. Today things are different.

I have worked with executives in world-class institutions, building their skills to ignite the engagement of staff and other key stake- holders. The goal is to activate the collective intelligence of the organization on behalf of mission and strategy. Here are five tips on how to do it:

  1. Leverage Social Networks
    On and off the org-chart networks are dynamic. They coalesce and dissipate based on interest, resources and need. Seek them out, engage them and listen to optimize their capacity to contribute.
  2. Express appreciation to each stakeholder.
    Each person involved in bringing your mission to life is a stakeholder. Let them know you appreciate their contribution. Appreciation breeds good will and support.
  3. Consistently and repeatedly communicate context. Context is about explaining the why behind change. Give people the information they need to make informed decisions and take action on your behalf.
  4. Bring key players inside.
    Create opportunities for the people who matter the most to meet you and your team. Take time to understand the world from their perspective. You will cultivate loyalty and understanding, commitment and support.
  5. Make it easy for people to speak up. Leaders often forget that it can take great courage for another person to speak their mind. Without honest concerns being voiced, leaders lack the feedback they need to be successful. Cheer people on when they offer their two cents.

Change agents of all stripes recognize the power of collaboration. Use these techniques to create a signature style of leadership that will grow your influence.

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One Response to “Five Tips for Collaborative Leaders”

  1. […] Five Tips for Collaborative Leaders […]

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