Collaboration is multiplication. – John Maxwell
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Controlling vs. Collaborating
One of the biggest traps I experience with clients is that leadership is a term not universally understood and that leaders don’t know how to lead. We have been taught that leaders must have all the right answers and know what to do. That paradigm sets leaders up for problems. No one person knows every right answer or every right tactic. We have teams to fill in our gaps. The trick is to know how to create and sustain a collaborative culture. This defines Transformational Leadership.
In order to define the culture, it’s important to define ourselves as leaders and note how we function. Below is a list comparing controlling leaders with collaborative leaders.
- Uses power of position
- Keeps control of information
- Top-down decision making
- Is “always right”
- Solves problems at executive level and informs others
- Creates “silos” of independent work
- Depends on a “rules”-based culture for limiting activities
- Attacks and blames people
- Uses the annual review to criticize
- Uses power of influence
- Shares information openly with team
- Co-creation of decisions
- Ensures that others are right
- Listens to input
- Uses collective wisdom of team in problem-solving process
- Allows and promotes independent and interdependent work
- Promotes a principles-based culture for expanding effective cooperation
- Addresses the facts and issues directly
- Creates ongoing evaluations with opportunities for coaching and mentoring
The principles and behaviors of the leader define the culture and set the standard for the team. Here are positive steps in creating a collaborative culture:
- Claim Your Leadership Style: If you claim Transformational Leadership as your style of leadership, then your work is to create and empower leads on teams and to create a culture of high performance. This means learning how the behavior of the leader impacts the behavior of the culture.
- Create Collaborative Systems: Be good at defining the vision, goals, and specific outcomes in time. Be specific. Create the goal, and then create the action plan with the team. You still get to modify and approve it. If the team collaborates on creating the action plan, then they own it and they will create an accountability process within the team as peer-to-peer accountability.
- Establish an Evaluation Process: Create the action plan with the team with tasks, responsible person, and the deadline. Set up weekly team sessions as “flash meetings” to check on the week’s deliverables and to define the next week’s deliverables. This is your opportunity to coach members of the team and to define where individuals need extra coaching from you.
- Ask for Input: Effective leaders ask good questions and listen carefully to the responses. This does not give away the power of making decisions or define weakness in leadership. This defines strength in leadership.
- Hire a Leadership Coach: I do this myself and I provide this service for others. In order to function on a high level, I have coaches who challenge me. I hold myself accountable by committing to others and creating collaborative action plans. I continue to work on myself and grow skills and my growing awareness of myself.
Leaders change the behavior of others in any group emotional system by changing themselves. Organizational transformation begins with the leader.
The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM