collborative leadership learning

Collaboration a Critical Leadership Skill?

In todays volatile, uncertain complex and ambiguous world is our ability to collaborate and outsource some of our thinking the most critical human ability to foster?

At leadership By Design we spend a lot of time working on leadership development interventions in larger organizations. So much of the development value people get from these types of programmes seems to be around how they see the world and perceive themselves and how much that drives them to change their interactions with others.

It really is how to get more done with others or in other words how to collaborate better.

Interestingly ” to collaborate” has some mixed meanings:

  •  to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor
  •  to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one’s country and especially an occupying force
  •  to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected

Do these go some way to illustrate why collaboration is not always seen as positive or a high priority? In an organisation made up of silos do we sometimes compete for resources or recognition? Are there some other parts of the organisation we are not immediately connected with? When you also factor in a resource constrained busy environment with an understandable bias to urgency collaboration can be confined to “What has to be done” to get the work done rather than “What would like to be done”   if you had the time.

Being “more collaborative” features on just about every notable assessment of critical leadership capabilities for now and the future I have  had the opportunity to review from CCL to Deloitte and the CPD.

Forgive my hard-wiring I tend to try and make sense of the world referencing neuroscience and the act of collaboration raises a number of questions I find interesting to ponder.  If you will accept the following assumptions that all our brains are different and are being continually shaped by our perceptions of our experiences.

We are all bias about our own views of the world and will tend to try and confirm our “working model” of about things are in order to obtain the meaning we need in the world.  When we collaborate it is worth remembering that it is our brains that are collaborating. In light of that:

  • Is effective collaboration about developing the skills and knowledge and motivation to suspend our own views so we can take on others?
  • Is it is also about building new ways of thinking with others?

Both of these would seem to be good things that could foster engagement improve decision making and encourage  innovative thinking in our organisations. Areas where improvements could drive real value.

That being the case shouldn’t organisations be more purposeful about fostering collaboration?

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