Do you practice collaborative leadership? | INCAE

Do you practice collaborative leadership?

22 2017 September
Ana Menspira

If two heads are better than one, Imagine what can be achieved when 5, 10 or 20 join together! What is collaborative leadership and why is it so popular with today's managers and leaders?

It is an alternative to the traditional hierarchy that proposes to give value to the business, promoting inclusion and engagement in teams. It takes advantage of the strengths of various actors, making them recognize themselves as an active part of the organization and generating a culture of constant collaboration.

The collaborative leader has certain specific characteristics:

1. Knows how to listen: The success of this model implies the ability to listen to the opinion of the collaborators, allow divergent opinions and take them into account when defining solutions. Making collaborators become participants is key.

2. Accept dissent and diversity: opposing opinions enrich the discussions and open the space to try out different ideas. This becomes productive when the leader is able to mediate these differences, make them work, and turn them into something constructive.

In addition, they take advantage of the diversity of talents. The collaborative leader is able to identify human talent and make it work in specific contexts. This is how you can lead multicultural teams, with people from different professional areas working on the same project.

3. Build empathy: feels empathy for his teammates; You listen to them with an open mind and pay attention to their needs and ideas. Each member is a key piece of success so it is ensured that they have the information, resources and motivation necessary to carry out the assigned tasks.

4. Communicate correctly: clearly transmits the strategy and objectives, so that everyone feels identified with them. You can moderate discussions when making decisions and brainstorming in an inclusive way.

The leader must transmit confidence for communication to be effective, for this he must not only use the correct words, but also demonstrate with actions what he says.

5. Share a goal: You define a goal together, in which you consider the experience of your team members when setting it. Setting a shared objective allows the group to consolidate and create an atmosphere of cohesion and motivation, where the participants feel that they are striving for a goal that responds to the interests of all and not only those of the company.

Collaborative leadership is a practice that has taken hold worldwide. An example was the negotiation of the Paris Agreement, led by Christiana Figueres. This Latin American persuaded the world to "save itself" and, through collaborative participation, it managed to get 200 countries to sign a global agreement in which they commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This shows what can be achieved when working together.

In recent years, companies have discovered the importance of focusing on all team members. This has generated a migration from the traditional leadership style to a collaborative one, which empowers human resources and blurs the lines between what we used to know as "boss" and "worker".

If leaders lean towards a more participatory approach, they will be contributing to the professional development of their team, by offering them the opportunity to have their own initiative, develop their creativity and explore other areas within the company.

Making that transition is not easy, it takes time and an organized group; but it is clearly worth it. We will not only have a stronger company and a higher quality in the work produced, but also more motivated, satisfied and committed employees with the company.


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