According to the authors of the new book Collaboration Begins With You, if collaboration is going to succeed it must begin with you. This thought-provoking post from Ken Blanchard, Jane Ripley, and Eunice Parisi-Carew challenges us to consider whether our own style of leadership is truly collaborative, and how that affects those we lead.
Are you a defensive leader – or a collaborative leader?
When people hear the word collaboration, one of two things typically come to mind: what they may lose in the process or what they may gain.
Leaders working in a silo believe all the brains are in their office or department. If something goes wrong on a project or if the outcome is less than positive, it’s because “the other guys”—the other people, department, or project group—screwed up.
Self-serving leaders see collaboration as a threat to their way of doing business. They fear giving up control, which they believe happens anytime they are asked to share information, resources, or the creative potential of people in their department. They are concerned primarily with their own success and not interested in contributing to the greater good. This defensive attitude is not only flawed, it’s damaging to the organization as a whole.
In contrast, leaders who are effective collaborators believe open communication between people, departments, and project teams is a key part of collaboration.
People with different backgrounds are welcome and safe to share their unique perspectives with their group, sparking creativity and innovation in everyone. A collaborative leader helps each team member understand how valuable their individual contribution is to the culture of collaboration in their group as well as their organization.
When people with a collaborative mindset work together toward a common purpose or goal, there is an atmosphere of trust, cooperation, and empowerment.
Everyone gains in a culture of collaboration—individuals, departments, project teams, and the entire organization. tweet this
If you aren’t sure whether or not you are an effective collaborator, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I actively seek different points of view?
- Do I view people’s mistakes as learning opportunities?
- Does my group demonstrate a commitment to the greater good?
- Do I encourage people to network with others?
- Do people in my group feel empowered to speak their mind even when they disagree?
If you answered no to two or more questions, you may need to rethink your skills and attitudes regarding collaboration.
Regardless of your role, you can be a silo buster and make a difference in helping create a culture of collaboration within your organization.
Ken Blanchard is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world. He has co-authored more than 60 books, including the bestselling One Minute Manager. Dr. Eunice Parisi-Carew is a speaker, highly regarded management consultant and trainer, bestselling author, and no-nonsense businesswoman. Jane Ripley is co-founder of WiredLeaders.com, a leadership development company focusing on collaboration, and works with the Ken Blanchard Companies. They recently collaborated together on the new book Collaboration Begins with You, which you can learn more about here.
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