Collaborative leadership is a management practice focused on delivering results across boundaries, and leaders need to be clear about where the boundary lies and how to use the different capabilities on either side of it in order to build a positive and efficient relationship.
As the poet Robert Frost once put it, “Good fences make good neighbours”.
In the book Collaborative leadership – how to succeed in an interconnected world David Archer and Alex Cameron say that “getting value from difference is at the heart of the collaborative leader’s task… they have to learn to share control, and to trust a partner to deliver, even though that partner may operate very differently from themselves”.
Hence, they list ten key lessons for a successful collaborative leader:
1 – find the personal motive for collaborating;
2 – find ways of simplifying complex situations for your people;
3 – prepare for how you are going to handle conflict well in advance;
4 – recognize that there are some people or organisations you just can’t partner with;
5 – have the courage to act for the long term;
6 – actively manage the tension between focusing on delivery and on building relationships;
7 – invest in strong personal relationships at all levels;
8 – inject energy, passion and drive into your leadership style;
9 – have the confidence to share the credit generously;
10 – continuously develop your interpersonal skills, in particular: empathy, patience, tenacity, holding difficult conversations, and coalition building.
Olof Palme in the early 1970s. Photo taken in Norra Bantorget during May Day
Image source: Wikimedia Commons http://goo.gl/wz0uzU