A brilliant example of collaborative leadership in action is illustrated in an article I read in yesterday’s Sunday Business Section of the newspaper entitled “Obama Tech Team Ventures Forward”:

Collaborative Leadership Structure is an innovation to the traditional hierarchical structure. It is not a style of consensus, yet it has far greater flexibility than the outdated, ‘command-control’ style of leadership commonly seen within hierarchical cultures.

With collaborative structure, there are leaders within the team with traditional titles, like campaign chief technology officer or chief innovation and integration officer – yet there is space for the team members to participate in the process and embrace accountability.

The article focused on the ability of the team to adapt to real-time unexpected situations – like Hurricane Sandy. Within 24 hours they were able to move their base from the east coast to the west coast – a seemingly impossible task at first glance. Also, detailed attention was given to the user (customer) experience that made for a highly successful and effective campaign outcome. What were some of the things they did to accomplish this?

#1. “Stand-up Meetings” – In the software business, these are short meetings where team members share what they accomplished the day before, what they’re planning for the day ahead, and what their challenges are. Sounds like my kind of meeting – it has an agenda and cuts to the chase.

#2. They took the time to test and retest for quality and to plan for the unexpected by thinking ahead. This requires reflection, not shooting from the hip. This eliminates inefficiencies caused by not doing it right in the first place. Activity is not necessarily productivity.

#3. They had a ‘here’s my goal and how I’m going to achieve it’ attitude. They didn’t sit around waiting for the ‘good ole’ days’; they made the most of what they had to deal with now.

#4. They made informed decisions, which require healthy, explicit communication.

#5. They innovated as needed as they went along. They were able to course correct and adapt to the rapid changes in the landscape.

This is an example of healthy culture that creates ownership and alignment of the team members. It requires a level of self-awareness that many, many leaders currently lack. Human beings can be good at passive-aggression. With 70-80% of the workforce disengaged, according to polls like Gallup, it is important for leaders to be willing to try new leadership models if they want effective teams.

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth” ~Erich Fromm

The old traditional “boss” style had its day, but a collaborative leadership structure that supports more fluid, situational leadership styles is an idea whose time has come. What do you think about rapid change and turbulent work place environments as it relates to leadership styles?

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com