Great Leaders Are Skilled at Collaboration
It’s not my job! I am don’t have time to help the customer, because I am overwhelmed! I don’t feel appreciated for my contribution! My boss is quick to find the mistakes that I make and slow to show appreciation! My loyalty to the organization comes second to my loyalty to my boss.
The above statements were feedback that I received from team members and department- heads of a company that I consulted with. This business was hard-pressed to retain talent. There was competition between departments and there was an overall sense that contributing ideas on how to make things better would be criticized and/or dismissed.
The company was a wholesaler and retailer. Two of their wholesale clients outperformed them in sales by fifty percent. The owner’s attitude was that everyone was expendable, things had to be done his way.
If you are like me, you are appalled by the description of the above company. This is an extreme example of what I see on a regular basis. The entrepreneur starts a business, in part because they are driven to make a difference in the world. They have some success in building momentum, but they get stuck as a result of not successfully adopting a servant leader mindset. Collaboration with stakeholders is very difficult and for many impossible.
A THRIVING MISSION
Team member clarity of purpose and contribution are the elements that I consistently see in successful purpose- driven organizations. Great leaders that I have worked with, know their compelling purpose and stay in their own lane while leading. They are excellent in identifying what to delegate and skilled in how to do it. They have interdependent teams that lead themselves.
TIPS ON HOW TO BUILD COLLABORATIVE TEAMS
1. Do for one what you want to do for all. Each individual is different. Leverage your authority to help team members do their job more effectively.
2. Consistently evaluate systems to deliver top-down service. Over time business systems can get stale and fail to deliver on the mission. Consistently evaluate how you deliver your brand promise with an excellence reflex.
3. Create and maintain a sustainable pace. If your staff struggles to deliver on the mission, the organization isn’t scaling properly. Evaluate job performance on a consistent basis and allow team members to be creative. The leader determines the pace.
4. Celebrate and reward. Reinforce mission-driven successful activities. Reward team member performance in public. Recognize interdependent team activity.
5. Check your ego. We have all worked for that boss that wasn’t there to further the mission as much as they were there for themselves. Consistently ask yourself “Is this what a great leader would do?” Evaluate core values and leadership purpose on a consistent basis.
6. Be mindful of the loyalty message. Every leader wants team members to be loyal to the organization. Leaders that demand loyalty to them usually are disloyal people.
In day-to-day business operations, there can be blind spots in the proper mindset of leading teams of collaborators. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s viewpoint to see the obvious. Seek out the advice of an expert that doesn’t have a bias about your organization. Consider partnering with Eric Miller.
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