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  • Writer's pictureJess

Why No Leader is an island

As we enter March, although it's hardly 'warm' in the UK, I do feel spring in the air. March always feels for me like a month of celebration... of community, sisterhood and hope. These for me are bedrocks in how I conduct my business, and I've seen with those in leadership roles that having the right support system and mindset is key for their success.

There is a long outdated view of a leader as this solitary figure making all the decisions. But in today's fast-paced, interconnected world this view is not the reality. The truth is, no leader is an island. Effective leadership requires collaboration and teamwork, both within the leadership team and across the entire organisation.

But how do you foster this collaboration in a way that really works for you?

A leader I was working with recently was asking this question. She has a great capable team reporting to her and seemingly supportive peers and seniors, however she was uncomfortable showing what she saw as weakness by openly admitting what she did not know. She felt that as the leader she had ro have all the answers. We worked together to understand where she was coming from with that view and how she was, in fact, holding herself and her team back by clinging to this view.

Some take outs from our work together:

  1. Collaboration is essential to work through and solve complex problems One of the main reasons why we need collaboration is the complexity of the challenges we face. Leaders can no longer solely rely on their own experience and expertise, they need different viewpoints to make effective and informed decisions which lead to growth and success.

  2. Getting multiple perspectives promotes inclusivity The challenges faced by leaders today are often multifaceted and so different perspectives provide better answers. When leaders work collaboratively with others, they can tap into a diverse range of skills and knowledge leading to more well rounded and innovative solutions.

  3. Collaboration builds empowered teams Collaboration fosters a sense of ownership and buy-in among team members. When individuals feel like their opinions and ideas are considered and valued, they are more likely to be invested in the success of the team and organisation as a whole. This sense of ownership not only increases motivation and engagement but also leads to higher levels of productivity and creativity.

  4. People learn from each other Collaboration also promotes learning and growth within the team. By working together, leaders can share their expertise and learn from each other's experiences. This continuous learning process not only benefits the individuals involved but also contributes to the overall development of the team. As leaders and team members learn from each other, they become better equipped to tackle future challenges and adapt to changing circumstances.

  5. There is a positive ripple effect across the organisation By encouraging communication and cooperation between different departments and team, leaders can break down silos and create a culture of shared goals and objectives. This enables organisations to leverage the diverse skills and perspectives of their employees, leading to enhanced problem solving and innovation (also see point 2).

  6. Collaboration enhances trust and open communication Through collaboration, leader and team members learn to actively listen to each , creating an environment where trust, open communication, and respect are valued and everyone can be heard. Building and maintaining a collaborative culture take time and effort, but the rewards are well worth it.

No leader is an island. Leaders today must be willing to accept help, support and diverse perspectives. They need to see that collaboration and cooperation are not signs of weakness! When collaboration is a comfortable and natural approach for a leader, they can then model and encourage collaboration within their teams, which creates a ripple effect throughout the entire organisation.

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