WOMEN MAKE COLLABORATIVE LEADERS
In the case that when you open this we still have a minority Labor government in Australia – but even if we haven’t – it’s a good thing that so many of the Independents are women and hence, statistically, more likely to adopt a collaborative style of leadership.
As a young adult in the time of Margaret Thatcher, I’m under no illusion that all women are collaborative, or empathetic or compassionate. However, research shows that on average we have more of these attributes than men.
‘That’s all very nice, Sara’, I hear you say, ‘I understand that this might be better for people, but why is it better for business?’
Why Collaboration is good for Business
When we trust each other we dare to fail in each others’ presence. Without failure, there is no creativity. We also dare to disagree.
This, I call ‘Creative Conflict’. The sort of disagreement which leads to a better result, stronger decisions, not compromise. As we trust each other, there is less chance of conflict doing damage or being taken personally and more chance that individuals will be happy to constructively critique ideas, build on some, throw away others until they have a great solution.
2. Diverse Skills and Perspectives
Seeking out diverse view points is often avoided by those who want to ‘act fast and break things’. It’s not fast.
But by getting more perspectives we make stronger decisions. We also increase ownership of the decision, the process and the outcome, which makes it more effective in the end.
It’s the way to reduce ‘Not Invented Here’ syndrome which halts the roll-out of so many great plans.
And by including diverse skill sets, we can implement faster, better and more easily with everyone working to their strengths.
When we collaborate, we empower those we work with. That has benefits for job satisfaction, hence reducing churn, skills development as we learn from each other and increasing the influence of individuals as they get to know others.
The empowerment in turn increases confidence and that feeds into the creativity/innovation loop. Statistically, women leaders are more likely to be seen as innovative within the company – ie more comfortable with and more likely to instigate and encourage innovation within, rather than just buy it from outside via M&A.
3 TOP TIPS TO INCREASE COLLABORATION THIS WEEK
Working in the office together less often can lead to less ‘naturally occurring collaboration – we are more likely to include others if they are right in front of us.
So let’s bring some more collaboration back. Here are 3 tips.
1) Ask, don’t tell This is a great piece of advice in general, especially if (like me) you are rarely short of an opinion. It’s time to assume you don’t know what others think, you don’t bring what they would bring, you don’t see it as they do. And that asking them for their perspective and contribution can only make the work better – and you wiser!
2) Consciously try Creative Conflict Be careful with this one. Ensure your team is skilled in communication and knows how to play the ball not the man/woman. Plan for it, don’t foist it upon people. Encourage participants to bring up (meaningful) disagreement and instruct that the purpose is to find a superior solution, not to persuade others of the value of your solution. All perspectives are valid. All ideas are disposable.
3) Bring different people in to solve a problem. Perhaps you always collaborate with your team. Try bringing in someone from outside. If you’re running workshop, why not bring in a customer or an academic or practical specialist? They can help you develop something new.
Let me know how you get on.
And meanwhile good luck to the Albanese government in exercising true collaboration. He may find that the more women he includes, the more successful at this he is.
If you’d like a copy of my white paper The Female GM’ with top tips on how to get the job and excel at it, click here.