Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Leadership = Collaboration

"Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved."
Mattie Stepanek 
American Poet (July 17, 1990 - June 22, 2004)

Leadership = collaboration.  That may sound like an oxymoron, but the truth is great leaders understand the power of unity.  A leader may have the vision, but it is the team that sees the dream to completion.  In order to do this, the leader needs to put aside his/her ego and let the ideas fly.  As Mattie eloquently states, "wonderful things can be achieved." 

 Here are some points to consider:

1.  Communicate your vision and expectations effectively and clearly to your team members.  Make sure everyone is on the same page before embarking on the task at hand.

2.  Encourage others to communicate and express their ideas freely by providing an open and safe environment to do so.  This will encourage creativity without the fear of being criticized.

3.  Sharpen you listening skills.  The most effective leaders are willing to hear a different point of view.

4. Be willing to compromise.  When working with a team it is impossible for everyone to get their way. That's why is important for you, the leader, to set the example.

5.  Always focus on the goal or well being of the project.  This will help diffuse egos and keep your team focused on the task at hand.

6.  Identify Challenges head on.  Whether that be a personality conflict or an obstacle that needs to be overcome, avoidance of the issue will only morph into a larger problem in the future.  Lay it all out on the table and ask the group or persons involved in the conflict for ideas or solutions to overcoming the problem. Then ask them to map out a strategy collectively for success.   

7.  Heap praise on your team for success.  However, be prepared to take the criticism when something goes wrong.  

There is something very rewarding about working together towards a common goal.  I think that is why so many people relate to athletic teams.  Collaboration sparks creativity because it builds upon each other's strengths.   Together - anything is possible!

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