Collaborative Leadership - Why is it important?

Team Kritikalhire

April 14th, 2023   
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Leaders, who have an authoritarian management style, often face the challenge of adapting to the dynamics of the organization. Their so-called 'brandishing, the wielding of power,' puts them in an undesirable situation that calls for change in behavior towards being collaborative. Staying deep-rooted in their management style will neither help themselves nor the organization, regardless of their confidence in their decision-making ability. 

Behavioral change is often resisted, especially when one has risen through the ranks in an organization using a particular management style. As it is said, 'Old habits die hard,' this transformation too, cannot come immediately. For one to realize, accept and appreciate the change, it does call for guts and determination, which all may not have. Those who succeed in it are more likely to be more successful than ever​​​​​.

 In their article, 'Becoming More Collaborative - When You Like to Be in Control’ published in Harvard Business Review, Jenny Fernandez and Luis Velasquez suggest a few tips for the authoritarian leader to make the mindset and behavioral changes to collaborate. According to them, one must self-introspect to understand why they make decisions in isolation. Do they believe decision-making rights are owned only by them and other people’s opinions do not matter? Is decision-making as simple as a gut reaction, and only they can make the right decisions? 

Over-confident leaders with many years of experience would have been right in their gut reaction in their earlier years. But as one rises the ladder, their decisions can affect the organization as a whole, and hence it is necessary to get as much input as possible from the team and other stakeholders. Here arises the need for 'collaboration.' One must appreciate that others also have an opinion on the organization's growth, and they have similarly risen in the ranks, which the organization has valued. No individual leader will have absolute power and authority. Position leadership — where a person's leadership power comes solely through the position they hold in the organization — is the most basic leadership level, and staying there limits their potential.   

In their article, Jenny and Luis continue to provide further suggestions to reposition themselves as a leader. As per them, being a more strategic, collaborative, and inclusive decision-maker requires making behavioral changes to influence others perceive them. To be known as an influential leader, one must encourage their team’s engagement, collaboration, and accountability for collective goals and decisions. 

A few characteristic changes will have to be undergone. Bring about humility and inclusiveness in the decision-making process. Be open to learning by seeking information that is not known. Asking for input is not a weakness; on the contrary, it’s an advantage that will only make one’s decision-making more effective and improves chances of success. More information provides a broader perspective of things rather than a tunnel view.

Moreover, getting data from the team or other stakeholders gives a sense of inclusiveness to others as contributing to the decision-making process. They also feel elevated knowing their opinions and inputs do matter. Also, take into consideration the long-term consequences of the decisions being taken. A leader who carefully reviews the resultant futuristic impacts of the decision will be highly appreciated and valued for their vision.         

Carol Goman, writes in her article “Six Crucial Behaviors Of Collaborative Leaders," adds that building trust is a critical factor in collaboration. As per Carol, “A collaborative team isn’t a group of people working together. It’s a group of people working together who trust each other. Trust is the belief or confidence that one party has in another party's reliability, integrity, and honesty. It is the expectation that the faith one places in someone else will be honored. It is also the glue that holds together any group and is the foundation of true collaboration."  Leaders have to build this trust through honest and transparent communication. Another factor is body language which should display warmth, positive eye contact, open postures, and a genuine smile, all signifying approachability. She also emphasizes sharpening soft skills, where the leader should develop the ability to listen and respond empathetically.

The proof of change will only be validated by others who experience how the leader wants to be perceived. Leaders have to earn respect and not force it to be respected. To achieve that, Jenny and Luis say, “You cannot lead by fear or authority. You must engage your team and build a level of trust and accountability that will enable you to set the direction and empower your team to help you make the right decisions.”


Becoming More Collaborative — When You Like to Be in Control

By Jenny Fernandez and Luis Velasquez (

Six Crucial Behaviors Of Collaborative Leaders by Carol Kinsey Goman (


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