True Leaders Understand the Power of Collaborative Leadership / Interdependence

October 29, 2012

True leaders realize ongoing progress and achievement require extensive collaboration across organizational boundaries–and that such collaboration leads to greater organizational and individual success.

Although it is easy to make unilateral decisions without considering the ultimate effect on others, as long as groups have a shared purpose and vision what some have called “collaborative leadership” is generally the best approach. True leaders who possess solid interpersonal relationship skills (empathy, patience, tenacity, an aptitude for managing difficult discussions, and the ability to build coalitions) are best equipped to thrive in a collaborative environment because they are able to set aside narrow self-interests in exchange for open discussions of how, with the support of others, they can achieve broader goals.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter of the Harvard Business School published a Harvard Business Review article in which she spoke of leaders who recognize that there are critical business relationships, “that cannot be controlled by formal systems but require a dense web of interpersonal connections.

One person defined collaborative leadership as, “the intentional and skillful management of relationships that enables others to succeed individually while accomplishing a collective outcome.”

A coercive leader might say: “Here’s where we’re going, here’s how we’re going to get there, and I could care less about how this impacts anyone else.” With coercion others have no choice, no voice, and (most likely) no commitment. With collaboration, however, everyone works together, with commitment, toward a common goal. As a collaborative / interdependent leader you accept the responsibility for developing (and ensuring the success of) a heterogeneous team that is focused on a shared purpose–and you know how to develop and sustain solid working relationships based on trust and accountability.

Dr. Stephen Covey said in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won’t be good leaders or team players. They’re not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational reality.

True leaders understand that their success, and the success of the organizations they lead, is dependent on their vision and ability to lead coupled with the collaborative support of others–and they know how to garner that support through openness, candor, understanding, negotiation, cooperation, and compromise.

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area
http://allenstalvey.com


True Leaders Exhibit Emotional Intelligence

November 18, 2010

True leaders realize that it’s not just what they do, but how they do it, that determines how effective they will be as a leader. True leaders are emotionally intelligent leaders—and as a result they are self-aware, know their strengths and weaknesses, and connect with their people. They are also able to maintain a flexible and optimistic leadership style, show an active interest in others’ perspectives and emotions, and guide and inspire others with a clear and compelling vision. In addition, they easily develop and maintain the cross-organizational bonds that are so critical to the success of a broader mission.

The ability of an emotionally intelligent leader to sense what others feel and to understand their perspectives allows them to develop and communicate a truly inspiring vision. Under the guidance of an emotionally intelligent leader, people feel appreciated, they are willing to share ideas, they enjoy learning from each other, they make decisions collaboratively, and they just plain get things done. They feel their work is more meaningful because they understand that their efforts contribute to the broader good of the team and the overall benefit of the organization—an organization they respect and are proud to be a part of.

True leaders create a type of resonance, a resonance the causes a passion and enthusiasm to resound throughout the group.  Whenever major concerns crop up, these emotionally intelligent leaders use empathy to attune to the emotions of the people they lead, and they use that awareness to help move the team in a positive emotional direction.

Leaders who lack emotional intelligence are not true leaders, as their lack of awareness of and concern for the feelings of others creates a level of dissonance that often becomes the group’s preoccupation and deflects their attention from the mission at hand.

In Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, published in 2002 by Harvard Business School Press, Daniel Goleman (author of the international bestseller Emotional Intelligence) teamed with renowned emotional intelligence researchers Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee to explore the role of emotional intelligence in leadership. In their own words, “If a leader resonates energy and enthusiasm, an organization thrives; if a leader spreads negativity and dissonance, it flounders.”

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area
http://allenstalvey.com


What’s a True Leader

March 3, 2009

True leaders are individuals, regardless of their level, position, or title, who rise to the top because they:

  • naturally stand out,
  • live by a set of guiding values,
  • have an innate concern for people,
  • have and share a clear and inspiring vision,
  • are confident and capable—yet not egotistical and self-centered, and
  • understand and apply a core set of basic leadership principles.

What about authority? Having authority does not make someone a leader, it simply grants individuals the ability to make decisions that impact others. True leaders exert influence by gaining others’ trust, respect, and admiration.

I will provide additional insights on what sets true leaders apart in future blog entries.

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area
http://allenstalvey.com