The collaborative leader


How can we actively and explicit establish collaboration as a fundamental principle for our team success?

Why collaboration, why should I care, why now?

The success of any organisation relies on how teams formulate, decide and deliver. In collaborative cultures, team work is rewarded, with an emphasis on how people share information, process it and converge on the best thinking.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

The Agile Manifesto – Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Leaders in these organisations help teams move through conflict into productivity, through indecision to action and through defensiveness into trust.

The power of WE is stronger than the power of ME

Red Holtzman, early New York Knicks coach

The collaborative leader understand their responsibilities as collaboration guardians by providing guidance about how to create, promote and sustain broad participation and decision making among all team members.

These collaborative leaders do the following:

  1. Lead by example
  2. Listen aggressively
  3. Communicate purpose and meaning
  4. Create a climate of trust
  5. Look for results
  6. Build up people
  7. Improve people’s quality of life

Collaborative leadership through facilitation:

The collaborative leader uses a management style that elevates the team wisdom through the use of facilitation. The facilitator:

  1. Owns the process, not the decisions
  2. Supports everyone to do their best thinking
  3. Hones skills such as listening, paying attention, encouraging interaction, asking powerful questions, and providing an environment in which trust, safety and collaboration thrive

Characteristics of a collaboration leader as servant:

Simply stated, the servant leader drives to serve the group first, from having authority to being a facilitator.

  1. Have a larger aim, a great purpose
  2. Attentive leaders present a a highly focused prioritisation on what needs to be done
  3. Use their listening as a means to lead
  4. A leader withdraws to force the team to turn inward and seek its own strength
  5. The team not the leader, resolves what must be done and what the best solutions are

I will be writing and sharing a series of blog posts from my learnings and experiences on team facilitation, following my attendance and participation in the highly recommended ICAgile professional coaching course on Agile Team Facilitation, delivered by Krishna and Ming from Leadership Tribe.

Recommended book: Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders by Jean Tabaka

Image credit: The comic strips – Frank and Ernest

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