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What Is Collaborative Leadership?

Collaborative leadership is based on vesting power in others, treating peers as equals.
Article Details
  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Collaborative leadership involves sharing power by organizing others to handle specific tasks or problems. It is based on the idea of giving up control and treating peers as equals. Collaborative leadership allows employees in a company or organization to tap into their creativity to solve a problem or create policy. In this form of management style, each person is respected and valued for his or her contributions to meet a shared goal.

In a collaborative leadership setting, all participants agree to unite to reach a defined mission. The manager works to foster relationships among people in the group to increase its success. He or she supports these relationships over time so they become strengthened.

One key point of collaborative leadership centers on taking collective action to set a priority and find ways to achieve a desirable outcome. Members of the group recognize and acknowledge the unique perspectives of peers and that every participant shares the same vision. Collaborative leadership requires trust, so everyone feels safe to contribute ideas.

This leadership style taps into the diverse experience and knowledge of others. It is based on motivating others to reach their potential, rather than using power to obtain results. A manager using collaborative leadership might seek opportunities to involve others by recognizing a higher goal beyond his or her personal goals.

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One of the most difficult aspects of collaborative leadership might be the need to give up control and share power. Many industrialized societies value individualism and reward personal accomplishments. A collaborative leader recognizes contributions made by others and gives them credit for their work. He or she typically relinquishes power for the benefit of the organization.

These managers usually possess the ability to examine themselves and their leadership styles. If they find a behavior does not meet the criteria for shared power and inclusion of peers, they may adjust their actions to meet the greater goal. Some collaborative leaders use maturity and experience to obtain commitments from others to work as a team.

Mentoring fits into collaborative leadership because it tends to bring out the best efforts in others. The development of coworkers enables the manager to recognize their talents while encouraging them to meet their highest potential. This factor commonly benefits the individual employee and the organization because it allows everyone to offer ideas and feedback.

A good leader using this style of management commonly balances the responsibility of handling details without overpowering the group. He or she typically ensures that meetings among participants stay on track and focus on a solution. The manager typically values each member of the group and enables contributions from each person during discussions.

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