Henry Ford is reported to have said, “Why is it that every time I hire a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached?” This thinking is a reflection of how work was managed in a manufacturing era, where the repetitive nature of tasks required people to think as little as possible. The purpose of a team during these times was to manage the execution of a repeatable process as efficiently as possible. Leaders relied on authority, hierarchy, incentives, rewards and punishments to keep teams productive. History has shown that this approach was successful and worked well in a manufacturing era, however times have subsequently changed.
The competitive environment of today demands increased innovation. And innovation demands increased collaboration and teamwork. Yet effective teamwork remains elusive for the majority of organisations.
Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that “time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more over the last two decades – at many companies more than 75% of an employee’s day is spent collaborating with colleagues.”. However, the research also found that:
”In most cases, 20% to 35% of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees.”.
So whilst we’ve moved to open plan offices and increased the number of creative thinking spaces, we still have a lot to learn about teaming and making collaboration work.
Many are challenged when asked to define leadership. Whilst challenging, it’s critical you create your own definition.
When lacking a clear definition of leadership it’s impossible to develop the skills necessary to drive superior results. Without a practical definition you have no idea what good leadership looks like. A lack of clarity makes the development of leaders a hit and miss affair, as it’s impossible to know what skills drive superior results.
If you are considering making the shift towards a more collaborative leadership approach you may be asking yourself, “What are the practices that support collaborative leadership?” Good question. In this post we will briefly explore the 11 practices of collaborative leaders.
Jim Collins in his best selling book “Good to Great” discusses a powerful leadership principle.
“put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems”
Collins noted that:
“…failing to grasp the fact that managing your problems can only make you good, whereas building your opportunities is the only way to become great.”