It takes a great entrepreneur with a great vision to start a business, but it takes a collaboration of many people to make it a success. That’s where leadership comes in as a key ingredient, to drive the collaborative process to make the whole team better than the sum of the parts.
I remember a book from a while back by Amilya Antonetti, titled “The Recipe: A Fable for Leaders and Teams” which illustrates the key concepts with stories and specific guidance on how to develop your natural leadership style. It all starts with how to be the leader in your own life, but then extends to learning the following skills she outlines for building a great collaborative team:
- Build and maintain trust. Trust is a key element we all need to set aside vulnerability, but it is hard to build, and easy to lose. It is not built on words, but through actions and evidence. Only when it works can a team raise and address the necessary issues to win.
- Expect conflict to reach consensus. A conflict and a fight are not the same thing. Conflicts are normal and required factual push backs in business, whereas fights are emotional, often personal, disagreements which do not lead forward to consensus.
- Embrace change. Change is the only constant in business, so make it your competitive advantage. Initiate change rather than react to it, and give clear instructions to help the team understand why the change is necessary, and how it will make the situation better.
- Improve your self awareness. Too often how we see ourselves is different from how we truly are, and how we are perceived by others. If you are unclear on what you want and need from others, you will rarely find it, and can’t lead others to help.
- Establish a level of analysis, structure, and control. The challenge is to strike the right balance. With none, things fall into chaos, but too much can have the effect of stifling innovation, flowing forward movement, and even hampering growth.
- Make decisions. In general, any decision is better than no decision. Usually a blended approach is the best, between independent decisions, and collaborative decisions factoring in the best team input. Picking great team members is a required first decision.
- Foster continuous communication. Communication is the glue that forms the bond between leaders and teams, and holds great teams together. Actions are stronger than words as the true evidence of the message we deliver. Credibility is a required base.
- Build championship teams. Winning teams evolve only from the right players, the right attitude, and the right coach. There has to be a cohesiveness and common focus on shared values and a commitment to reaching their shared and personal goals.
- Provide recognition and rewards. These drive human behavior, and human behavior drives results. Recognition validates people, their purpose, and their life. Intangible rewards can have an even greater impact than tangible ones, but they must be relevant.
- Create learning experiences. We all have a desire to learn and grow, or we and the team become bored and lethargic. The best learning opportunities are experience and sharing with focus on three styles: see and read, hear and repeat, and touch and feel.
In today’s fast-moving digital business age, we face an entirely new environment for innovation and collaboration. The days of the lone genius quietly toiling away, or the autocratic leader are gone.
So use these tips to develop your collaborative leadership skills and learn to build high performance teams. When the team is working well together, it can feel like magic, and the results will match your feelings. Amilya and I have both been there.