What actually is a leader? If you asked 10 people for a definition you would probably get 11 answers. One of my colleagues once commented that “he may not always be right but he was always certain!” and it made me wonder how leaders could be so sure of their ground.

For business owners, the first step in creating your new business is a leap of faith and hopefully a solid vision. This automatically qualifies you as a leader. But things get a bit tricky as you start building relationships and partnerships with others. It can be your own people or it can be suppliers or trusted associates that help at critical times - the point is, you need every person acting like a leader in their own area of specialism. And they also need to be thinking like a teammate even if the “team” is not strictly delineated. Since the start of this century, the trend towards partnerships has paved the way for a more collaborative style of leadership……

It All Starts With Crafting A Great Team

Margaret Mead, American social anthropologist (1901-1978) was famous for saying “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

But how many people would it take? With only one person, it’s hard-but when you put that one person with four or five more, you have a force to contend with. All of a sudden, you have enough momentum to make almost anything that is immanent, actually real.

The hit 90s children’s TV series Power Rangers was based on a band of teenagers who possessed individual  super powers and came together to defeat any villain. A compelling case for encouraging diverse skills and talent if ever there was one. And it’s the same for you: orchestrating the make-up of your ‘dream team’ is the smart way to excel.  

One leader who recently got this so right is Justin Trudeau, the newly elected Canadian prime minister. His cabinet choices shows he understands the power of having a diverse team.  The smiling line up hints at the collaboration thus far. And the talents that this group possess is impressive. However, I am sure that each person will be expected to lead their part of the team.

Here’s a quick overview of his dream team:

  • Minister of Health is a doctor.
  • Minister of Transport is an astronaut.
  • Minister of National Defense is a Sikh Veteran.
  • Minister of Youth is under the age of 45.
  • Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is a former farmer.
  • Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was a Scout.
  • Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was a financial analyst.
  • Minister of Finance is a successful businessman.
  • Minister of Justice was a crown prosecutor and is a First Nations leader.
  • Minister of Sport, and Persons with Disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian.
  • Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard is Inuit.
  • Minister of Science is a medical geographer with a PhD.
  • And new titles include, Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees who was an Immigration critic.

There are several scientists in the cabinet and it is made up of 50% women.  Oh Canada…… What a cabinet. What a team!

Collaborative Leadership Starts With You!

Being a collaborative leader means juggling the balance between respecting and valuing the differences of a partner or colleague, whilst smoothing out some of those differences in the interests of making the relationship work.

The leadership principles listed below will help you achieve this balance consistently. Modelling self-leadership is the most powerful way to embed a technique and it is further reinforced when you mentor or coach others.

These are the habits of self-leadership:

  • Practice, don’t preach.
  • Observe and listen.
  • Stay connected to your intention for change.
  • Stay with the conflict – don’t avoid it. Resolve it…help creative options open up.
  • Follow your heart-do what you love, love what you do.
  • Keep connected to THE big picture. Talking spiritual may be a step too far for some but the idea is - it’s a big universe of possibilities and serendipity has worked its magic already – make sure you keep connected.
  • Nurture your own space of reflection that supports your life journey.
  • Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. Your focus will improve as possibilities emerge.
  • Use different languages with different stakeholders.
  • If you want to change others (other stakeholders), you need to be open to changing yourself first.
  • And never give up!

Practical Tips for Collaborative Leaders

  • Develop in collaboration, a common agreement about the objectives and how the relationship will operate.
  • Facilitate enthusiasm – and if necessary, make this a focus to get things started.
  • When things go wrong it’s important that you have created open relationship communications to discuss and resolve difficult issues.
  • Charismatic leadership is not the only way – collaboration is more about helping all voices be heard and agreements reached before acting.
  • Yes, it takes longer but creates stronger bonds to complete the goal successfully.
  • Finally, collaboration is about sharing control. Think about the consequences of too much control and aim to lead with a light touch.

 

For more tips on achieving leadership across your teams, theHRhub team are ready to help. We are the ultimate online HR support service for Startups and SMEs - providing software, templates, expert advice, whitepapers and up to date news and views, straight to your mobile or tablet. Like having an HR director in your pocket but without the price tag! Find out more about us here.

 

Photo Credit: Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger by Kikomachi

 

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