Collaborative leadership is more than just practicing cooperation at the workplace. It is about leading towards a collective outcome that makes it possible for all key stakeholders to succeed. Collaborative-minded leaders view the collaboration itself as a process that is critical to align the direction, people, and the practices towards the achievement of common goals. Collaborative leaders engage others to work together with ownership and commitment for a common outcome.
In the current VUCA environment (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), it is impossible for any one single manager to get things done. In this dynamic business environment with VUCA dimensions, leaders know that they don’t have all the answers and they need to engage the others through collaboration to be in control of the situations.
The traditional autocratic and managerial leadership styles are no longer suited to the current business environment. It is the collaborative leadership with dimensions of democratic leadership that is going to help the businesses to survive and grow. While the autocratic and managerial style of leaders focus on keeping the power and control with them to get things done, the collaborative leaders are willing to let go of the power and control, and yet get things done far more effectively.
The essential of collaborative leadership includes mastery of collaboration practices that focuses on relationship management skills and effective communication skills. These leaders display high degree of integrity and focus their energy and efforts in building and sustaining trust across departments in the workplace.
Organisations led by collaborative leaders have certain unique characteristics such as:
- They collaborate across all aspects of the organisation
- They believe that collaboration benefits everyone
- Engage everyone by listening to the ideas and concerns of all employees
Collaborative leaders recognise the benefits of the approach. The advantages of collaborative leadership are many, including the following:
- Greater access to more ideas and information
- Opportunity to achieve sustainable results
- Greater buy-in from stakeholders
- Possibility of creating and sustaining a community of collaborators in the workplace
- Maximisation of resources and financial savings
- Improved and better products and services
- Access to niche skill set that exist in the organisation
Collaborative leaders demonstrate a number of relationship management skills such as listening without judging, encouraging & enabling participation from others and showing empathy when interacting with others. They are able to ask questions aimed at solving problems and accepting diverse views, while seeking agreement.