By Dr. Chaim Y. Botwinick, Special for US Daily Reivew
One of the major challenges facing organizations today – whether they be corporate or nonprofit environments – is their continuous struggle to effectuate change which is sustainable over an extended period of time.
More often than not, many leaders engage in top-down management and change processes with very little regard to sustainability. This reality is born out of an inability for many folks in leadership positions to create environments which embraces collaboration and teamwork in order to help build long-term capacity. Moreover, this management culture plays itself out continuously in corporate board rooms where top-down and autocratic decision-making is the exception rather than the rule. Such actions more often than not compromise or minimize product quality, thereby creating missed opportunities for collaboration.
One of the most powerful principles in support of collaborative corporate behavior is that “people will support what they help create.” This important principle or value-proposition has proven to be the cornerstone and hallmark of visionary leadership. To be sure, high performing visionary leadership decision-making is embedded and anchored in empowering teams to engage in thoughtful and meaningful collaboration, as opposed to going-it-alone.
By definition, “collaboration” must include the bringing together of the knowledge, the experience and the skills of multiple team members in order to contribute to the conceptualization, development and implementation of a project or product. Anything less creates a lack of cohesiveness, trust and a shared vision – thereby reducing the probability for cultural or corporate sustainability.
Initially, it may be “easier” for the manager, supervisor or leader to go-it-alone. After-all, it reduces time and energy, eliminates complicated processes; and, positions the leader at the top of the pyramid. However, if we are truly committed to long term change and sustainability, then collaboration must become a sine qua non, and an indispensable tool for creating a supportive team.
Effective and meaningful collaborative processes require the following:
- Early involvement and availability of resources;
- Highly motivated and committed team members;
- Early sharing of information and ideas;
- Facilitated direction, feedback and continued assessment;
- A shared vision, values, goals and purpose;
- Trust and respect among members of the team; and,
- An unswerving conviction and belief on the part of teams members regarding the power of teamwork.
If one agrees with the principle that “people support what they help to create” then it should be quite easy for leaders to embrace and celebrate the positive impact collaboration and teamwork has on the morale, well-being, productivity and effectiveness of individual team members.
Collaborative leadership is a powerful concept. Collaboration is an equally powerful tool that increases performance, and outputs…and nurtures creativity and the search for great ideas. These must be the underpinnings of leadership success and the quest for excellence.
Dr. Chaim Y. Botwinick, Author, Think Excellence: Harness Your Power to Succeed Beyond Greatness, Brown Books Publishing Group, Dallas, Texas.