Collaboration produces higher-quality solutions and greater commitment to the outcomes. When people feel valued and are fully engaged, they have higher levels of job satisfaction and feelings of efficacy. Yet not all leaders embrace collaboration or use it as fully as they might.
In “Collaborative Leadership: 6 Influences that Matter Most”, author Peter DeWitt cites 4 main leadership styles:
The Bystander – this leader is passive and does not seek to define goals and enlist others in figuring out how to achieve them. These leaders seem to prefer office time to interacting with people. Silos proliferate in these organizations and there are few opportunities to break them down.
The Regulator – as the name implies, this leader is results-oriented, but seeks compliance not collaboration, controlling the environment to produce untended outcomes. This leader walks into a meeting knowing what result or opinion they want everyone to walk out with. This style creates resentment and hostility.
The Negotiator – these leaders use collaboration to build support for predetermined goals. They define goals alone or with a select few, and then use collaboration to build coalitions of support. This approach can work as long as others buy into the goal, but it is not true collaboration and can be perceived as manipulative or disingenuous.
The Collaborator – this leader uses collaboration to create goals, and build consensus and energy about how to achieve them. This leader tends to value honesty and transparency. Employees and other stakeholders feel valued and committed to achieving results. These leaders may have pre-conceived opinions, but they are open to having these changed. They create environments where people are engaged, results-oriented, and willing to try new things.
Most of us can recognize these leaders and the legacies they leave. What will your legacy be?