The Power of Collaborative Leadership

It is unavoidable for leaders these days to rely more on the intelligence of their team members to cope with an increasingly complex and ever-changing business environment. Collaboration is no longer consider as a philosophy but it  is the essential ingredient – one of the determining factors for organization survival and success.

Corporate must realize that ‘silo mentality’ is not helping to save the organization financially, it won’t lead to a revolutionary new process or product rather it suffers corporate profits and block the creativity, productive and joyful workforce. Therefore, Collaborative Leadership is needed to make the company afloat when others are sinking.

What is Collaborative Leadership?

It is a process, activities and relationship in which a group and its members are engaged in collaboration – whereby exchanging information, sharing or poling resources for mutual benefit to achieve a common goal.

Do the senior executives interpret the organizational vision, mission, goals and objectives in the same way as the CEO do? Do they have the same ideas in mind and speak the same language to their sub-ordinate? Do they manage the organization with open communication climate with the colleagues? Do they go and lead to the same directions with the equal speed?

Many sectors need to apply the solution for the common goal which requires a system approach with diverse input and multiple perspectives. Therefore, leaders should exercise more for the influence among the top management decision makers rather than authority. Hence, leadership communication is a great challenge.

Why is it important in today’s business?

Today’s business is getting more complex due to information transparency. Business can no longer be managed as ‘business as usual’. Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate with something people want. How well an executive communicates is determined not by how well he or she says things, but by how well he or she is understood.

Effective leadership depends on effective communication, the ability to connect to others and through the connection guide, direct, motivate and inspire. Good communication skills enable, foster and create the understanding and trust necessary to encourage others to follow a leader. Without effective communication, leaders accomplish little. Without effective communication a leader is not a leader.

In business, several studies have found out that to achieve success and be promoted in an organization – the individual who gets a head in business is the person who ‘is able to communicate, to make sound decisions, and to get things done with and through people’. Communication is not just words, it is the interrelations of human beings trying to share ideas, experience and expectations. The first function of the executive is to develop and maintain a system of communication.

What are the possible danger of neglecting it?

CEOs feel today feel that communicating their organizations’ values has become more complex and essential in today’s growing digital society. Securing national and international reputation is one of the significant points to gain public trust. CEOs notice that demanding role of strategic communication in maintaining organizational, collaborative leadership and corporate positioning is necessary particularly in competitive industries.

Do all leaders in your company – say, Corporate Secretary, Business executives responsible for Human Resource, Marketing, Production, Finance, Distribution work in line and in harmony with each others? Do they have the same pattern of work and communicate frankly in a uniformed rule of laws? Is there any conflicting issue such as data, interest, power and legitimacy of each person in charge?

The absence of corporate leadership will lead to unclear strategic direction of a company. There will be lacking managerial talent and skills or competencies. A poor track record in implementing strategy will cause internal operating problems.

Leadership of the team is not clear. Line of responsibility is unclear and people often ask their task. There is no evidence that people on the team trust each other. Communication is confused as it comes and goes in many directions. Policies appear to be inconsistent. When all these symptoms happen – it is the time that the company needs Change.

What can a communication professional do to make it work?

Communication professionals or public relations officer should work closely with management if the communication function is expected to contribute effectively to the organization. Communication executive cannot stand on its own function. This function could serve the entire organizational change in terms of providing necessary harmonious working environment by creating open communication climate in the office.

Management dialogues are encouraged enabling people talking at east, eliminating miscommunication that could lead to negative perception among teamwork.

Communication function serves as an early warning system by building relationship among management personnel – functioning as a problem solver for eliminating conflict internally and externally.

Communication professional serves as a sharing value function in the entire management of an organization both to internal management team and external publics that the organization serve.

What are the challenges of leadership in communication?

The key to successful leadership is the influence – not the authority. Leaders take people where they want to go. Leadership work on the system while the management work in the system. Collaboration leadership need open communication climate where everyone in the system could speak openly about their ideas, perception and expectation.

It is not easy though, as some executives will have different ideas and expectation, let alone the personal ego to compete for power and influence among the majority of people or those in significant function in an organization.

Top level management should support the vision of a learning organization and the working climate recognize the importance of learning. Too heavy on bureaucracy will be a great challenge in practicing collaborative leadership where communication function does not work effectively

Communication is not just words, symbol or logo – it is an interrelation of human being trying to achieve the common goal. Effective leaders should be an excellent communicator. Without communication, how can a leader lead, inspire and be a role model of the subordinates?

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