Of all the leadership skills necessary to be an effective, successful leader, knowing how to collaborate with people of all levels, inside and outside of the organization is key. After all, what is a leader’s job, other than to work with others to achieve the organization’s goals? Knowing how to be a good collaborator is a skill that can be taught with effective leadership training.
Often, people in leadership roles assume that they must be independent, decisive, and even competitive to be successful. But by putting aside traditional ways of thinking about leadership skills and entering into trusting relationships with others, the concept of competition can be replaced with win-win mindsets and outcomes. Win-win is a collaborative process where people take the time to search for solutions that result in mutual benefit. It calls for a commitment to communicate until a satisfactory solution is discovered, an openness to questioning some of our assumptions, and entertaining new ways of thinking.
To succeed in our current, ever-changing, technology-driven global environment, the knowledge, experience, perspectives, and skills of a wide range of people need to be brought together. Companies and leaders need to pool their human capital in an effort to solve increasingly complex problems, make sound decisions, and deliver the best solutions to their customers. In addition, companies are forging new partnerships with their suppliers, vendors and even competitors in an effort to increase their market reach. All these trends require solid collaboration skills.
A leader’s traditional methods of problem-solving, decision-making and implementation are no longer fast or flexible enough. With this need to achieve complex goals quickly and efficiently, often with fewer resources, effective communication has become more critical than ever. Our need to work well with diverse groups of people has also become greater. Globalization has created more interdependencies and created new possibilities. The win-win paradigm is excellent for meeting these challenges. It starts with the question,“How can we work together to create an outcome that meets our different needs?”
Using a collaborative perspective in all of their relationships, leaders can truly transform and elevate their work. Remember, a key element of collaboration is to listen and value different viewpoints.These different perspectives contribute options that leaders may never have thought of on their own. Whether working in teams, partnerships, or working one-on-one, these differences can be assets.
Effective leadership training should include lessons on collaboration and win-win thinking. A Better Way is a leadership training video (part of Stephen Covey’s Lessons in Leadership Set) that teaches win-win problem solving through the real stories of three South African retailers who were forced to find a better way to do business.