Collaborative Leaders Are Great Followers

What is Collaboration?

Collaboration is a process where two or more people or organizations work together towards achievement of common goals. A collaborative leader understands the importance of supporting other members of the team.

As a collaborative partner, we are able to shift from focusing on ourselves to the role of a team member participating as part of the team.

Key Questions for Collaborative Leadership

The following key questions will help you to apply this criteria in practice to become an effective Collaborative Leader.

Are you a team player? Do others describe you as a team player?

Collaborating with others means cooperating and operating as a team player. If your team sees you as being an active and supportive member of the team they will be more willing to respect and support you in return. Conversely, if you are seen as remote and self absorbed, then it will be difficult to build trust and and gain the support and power that comes from group trust.

Do you operate from a sense of abundance?

Individuals who see themselves as being in competition – for resources, money, status, praise – will have difficulty letting go of control and allowing others to step up. If you have a robust and healthy sense of self-worth and confidence, and actively work towards creating win-win outcomes you will more easily operate in a collaborative and supportive manner.

How much flexibility do you have in shifting your focus to follower?

One significant challenge for many leaders is that they have become so used to leading that it can be difficult to step back and support others. The term “followership” has been coined, by Ira Chatoff,  to describe someone’s ability to effectively follow the lead of others and collaborative leadership implies the ability of a leader to also act as a follower, enabling team members to lead in their areas of expertise and on their individual assignments.

Being a Collaborative Leader and A Great Follower

There are five dimensions of courageous followership as described by Ira Chaleff in his book “The Courageous Follower”

1. The courage to assume responsibility for common purpose

2. Support others leaders and groups energetically

3. Take moral action when necessary

4. Participate in transformation

5. Constructively challenge counterproductive policies and behaviors

Great followership is a discipline of supporting other leaders and helping them to lead well. This requires shift from leader to follower as needed,  it is not submission, but the wise and good care of the community of leadership that cultivates the creation of collaborative advantage.

Collaborative Leaders Are Great Followers–How are you doing with these two key attributes for effective leadership in our new world of work?

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