Being a leader can be a lonely experience, along with having to carry a lot of responsibilities, especially when leading others in a professional environment.
Good leaders can do things themselves and motivate others to do the same, whereas great leaders get others involved and empower them to lead themselves and others better.
A powerful leadership lesson I have learned is that people will support what they are involved in because they have buy-in. In laymen’s terms, they have “skin in the game.”
Having had many leadership roles in my corporate career, based on what I know now, one thing I could have done better was to have taken a more collaborative approach when leading others.
As I was seen as the leader, it was expected that I would tell team members what to do and what I expected of them. The “command” type of leadership was the norm.
By adopting a command type leadership, what I experienced was, team members:
- Didn’t think they were being utilised well.
- Weren’t willing to share new ideas.
- Did things because they had to, not because they wanted to.
- Weren’t as engaged or enthusiastic as they could have been.
What would have been better was to have a more collaborate approach and tap into the collective strengths of my team members. Oftentimes, leaders don’t know how to do this well, which is why collaborating with other leaders can bring real significant benefits.
Here are five good things that will happen when leaders come together to collaborate, using a recent project, my new leadership book titled, Ignite Your Leadership, as the example. I was able to collaborate with eleven other leaders during this book project and here are some of the benefits we experienced as a result.
- You will be challenged to do things you may have not done before. Other leaders will help us grow and reach new levels of ambition. If we are doing things on our own, we are limited to our knowledge, skills and experience. Collaboration opens us up to new possibilities and create new visions, which is one of the key responsibilities of a leader.
- You will leverage other leader’s networks. During the book project, we were able to leverage each other’s resources and networks when we needed to. The real benefit was that each of us got introduced to each other’s networks which we wouldn’t have been able to, had we not collaborated.
- You will be able to share your workload. Having more people working on a goal or project often leads to faster progress. In our case, although completing the book took a lot longer than we would have liked, when it came to preparing for our launch, sharing the workload helped speed things up.
- You will open yourself up to new opportunities. By being able to tap into other leader’s networks, we open ourselves up to new situations and experiences. This could be by being introduced to new people or getting invited to attend different events, all of which can attract new opportunities.
- You will attract others who will want to support your collaboration. When others see the results of collaboration, they will want to experience similar things and also feel compelled to support us as well. By taking the lead and collaborating, leaders set the example for others to do the same, just like we did with our book launch.
Collaborating with others can be challenging, frustration, and at times, we may even question whether it is worth it, but if we are willing to stick with it, it can be very rewarding. It is also a lot of fun to work together with colleagues who have common intentions and are equally motivated to make a positive difference.
Question: What is another benefit of collaborating with other leaders?
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