in Collaboration, Communication, Leadership, Leading Projects

Indispensable Traits of a Collaborative Leader: Part 2

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” — Charles Darwin

The biggest difference between command and control leadership versus collaborative leadership is – a collaborative leader knows that position in the hierarchy is no longer the source of power. The real source of a leader’s power is people and how well they work together. In a collaborative world of work, authority is merely a starting point for the leader to create an ecosystem where collaboration can happen.

In highly digital and distributed business environment, collaborative leaders need to focus on creating forums and establishing tools that encourage collaboration. Let us look at a few traits of a collaborative leader keeping collaboration forums in perspective (Revisit the series so far.)

  1. They know the difference between communicating and connecting. There is a difference between communicating (passing the message) versus connecting. As John Maxwell defines, “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence on them.” The act of connection starts with appreciating the value each and every individual brings on the table. One of the key challenges for a collaborative leader is to align the team, cross functional groups and customers to a common purpose and the best ways to address this challenge is to meaningfully connect with others.
  2. They establish forums for communication and collaboration to happen. For people, doing their own work first is always a priority. Collaboration always takes a backseat if a leader is not conscious about setting up forums where collaboration can happen. Daily stand up meetings to address priorities, joint planning sessions, brainstorming, Lessons learned sessions, reviews and retrospectives are all forums that enable collaboration. The key for a collaborative leader is to plan them upfront and ensure that people continuously contribute towards the common goal.
  3. They use technology and tools for effective collaboration. Using collaboration tools like Wikis, document repositories, collaborative planning tools and workflow management systems act as a grease that streamlines collaboration. It is simple – the more collaboration is built into the work processes and tools, the more it happens. This is especially vital for teams that are distributed.
  4. They don’t hoard information but share openly. In a collaborative team, the sharing of information is seamless. Though a part of information sharing is taken care by the tools and forums established, a collaborative leader is very conscious about re-iterating the purpose, relentlessly clarifying the context and keeping everyone informed at all times. Collaborative leaders know that people working on the tasks are as important stakeholders as the customers.
  5. They first share the knowledge, and then expect others to share. The act of sharing starts with the leader. Team members only open up to share their knowledge and insights when everyone around them are doing it too. Collaborative leaders add value to the team through their clarity of purpose, their overall business knowledge and understanding of how things should work. Then, they encourage others to do the same.

In the next post, we will outline a few more traits that make a collaborative leader successful. Stay tuned!

– – – – –

In the series so far:

The Foundation of Collaborative Leadership

Indispensable Traits of a Collaborative Leader: Part 1

– – – – –

Stay Tuned! Subscribe via RSS, Connect via Facebook or Follow us on Twitter. You can also subscribe to updates via email using the section at the bottom of the page

– – – – –

Photograph by: Tanmay Vora

  1. Dear Tanmay,

    The traditional leadership style of top down management is slowly evolving into a collaborative approach that empowers employees and blurs the lines between the boss and worker.

    As more companies adopt a culture of open innovation, a new style of leadership is taking shape. Collaborative leaders take a more open approach in the workplace. Team building and power sharing are replacing the traditional forms of corporate hierarchy. The role of leadership is evolving into a broad based team building approach that encourages creative thought in the workplace.

    Nice write up

Comments are closed.