Great Leaders Hold Themselves and Others Accountable for Ensuring Collaboration
As I wrote last week in the blog post on Why Strategic Plans Fail, great leaders will provide an overview of how to achieve a strategic objective, but leave the details of the “how” to those executing the strategy. Average leaders, on the other hand, are more likely to develop and include the details of execution in their strategic plans, forcing the execution teams to follow a designated path. This methodology has a lower degree of successful execution than the process used by great leaders.
This is one of the reasons why great leaders excel at creating collaboration in the workplace and why average leaders perform poorly at enticing collaboration, particularly between cross-functional work groups that have different priorities, goals, and annual performance objectives.
Great leaders also know that collaboration between individuals, departments, work groups, colleagues, outside contractors, and even between peer-level leaders, is essential in today’s world.
Hence, great leaders hold themselves and others accountable for ensuring that collaboration takes place between all team members and work groups, as well as between themselves and others. This is an important aspect of Leadership Accountability.
Collaboration means working together to attain a shared outcome. The key word here is shared.
Collaboration is not about getting others to help achieve your own goals or objectives. There must be benefits to both parties (or to all parties when multi-group collaboration is necessary), though these benefits need not be equal in size, stature, or importance.
Also, collaboration does not mean compromise. One party making a compromise does not equate to collaboration. There is a huge difference between asking another person or department to compromise and asking them to collaborate.
Successful collaboration comes from a strong mixture of three factors:
- Shared goals and outcomes.
- Influence skills.
- Handing collaboration conflict.
Shared goals and outcomes, of course, is part of the very definition of collaboration. The other two factors are leadership skills that need to be learned and honed.
Collaboration works best when there are “big picture” results for customers and the organization. Conflict often ensues when the perceived results overly benefit either customers or the organization. The same is true when a collaboration project on internal processes, policies, or procedures greatly favors one part of the organization over another or all others.
Unfortunately, the silo mentality and the various rewards and recognition systems in most organizations often prevent routine collaboration between team members and peers from happening.
This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats and has over 1000 quotes on leadership from global business leaders, statesmen, athletes, coaches, sages, and philosophers.