Let Your Hybrid Business Soar with Collaborative Leadership - Part Two of Real Skills Series

Real Skills Blog Series

Assertive, one-way leadership practices have been the “Go-to” for ages, but times are changing. Collaboration, a previously undervalued soft skill in autocratic hierarchies, has emerged as a must-have real skill in a hybrid working world. Enjoy our latest blog and discover why collaborative leadership is essential for your business in 2024 and beyond.

If you’ve enhanced your business with hybrid work solutions to perform in a changing environment, then you’re on the right track. But if you really want to soar in a world of tricky new workplace dynamics, you may need to let go of the traditional leadership practices that no longer serve you and embrace a more collaborative approach.

A Winning Formula of Olde

When Ford Motors rolled out its first car in 1903, its vision was to make owning one practical and affordable to the average person. They succeeded through innovation and a traditional work model supported by a directive leadership style.

Their model brought the numbers as employees turned up to work and diligently toiled for long hours. A strong leader, who was responsible for the outcome communicated the organisation’s objectives to the team and guided them to the goal.

Over the last two decades though, and especially post-COVID, change has come knocking. For many businesses, including Ford, the linear work model that once ran so efficiently is making way for a hybrid structure that allows people to work in creative new ways.

Adding to this, employees, made up of a growing number of millennials, are raising their hands for a greater stake in the decision-making that impacts them and are shunning the traditional directive leadership approach for a more engaging and collaborative style.

Collaborative Leadership Takes the Stage

The popularity of collaborative leadership has risen sharply alongside modern organisational structures and employee sentiment, but what exactly is it, and why is it so important to the hybrid work model?

Simply put, it’s an approach to achieving an organisational objective that engages and supports employees laterally and across boundaries. Its key characteristic is “side-by-side” as opposed to “top-down.” It promotes input from collaborators who are equal partners and respect the opinions of others and takes the cooperation of individuals who share a common goal to the next level, fostering teamwork.

By leveraging the belief that everyone has something uniquely valuable to offer the mission, collaborative leadership presents attractive benefits; it empowers, promotes inclusivity, and gives a voice to a larger spectrum of people. It also taps into a talent pool that may otherwise get overlooked.

From a practical perspective, collaborative leadership allows transparent sharing of information and cross-functional communication and engagement, encourages co-creation, and dismantles silos, which make it perfectly suited to the increasingly distributed nature of the hybrid work model.

Begin Your Collaborative Leadership Journey

If your organisation still leans heavily on a directive leadership model and you want to take a collaborative step forward, but you’re nervous about making wholesale changes, there are simple steps you can take to get a sense of what a collaborative culture would feel like.

You can start by creating a greater sense of clarity and purpose that filters through to more employees and welcomes feedback. You can encourage partnerships that promote new relationships, idea sharing and transparency. And most importantly, you can establish a leadership attitude that genuinely sees people and celebrates their strengths and input.

Companies that have successfully injected collaborative leadership practices into their cultures have produced notable increases in earnings, created a workplace experience that enhanced employee loyalty and built concrete foundations for a future of new paradigms and challenges.

Coaching Creates Collaborative Success

Change Partners leadership development initiatives are highly effective tools for cultivating collaborative skills in your leaders and creating supportive organisational cultures.

One-on-one executive coaching and organisational change coaching will develop your leaders and give them a more open-minded perspective that acknowledges the abilities and contributions of others and empowers them to get results through more collaborative interventions.

Group coaching and team effectiveness coaching initiatives will help your employees understand their role in a collaborative culture and how to work with their leaders and peers to support a more engaging relationship style and ultimately enhance trust.

You may not need to replace entire structures with this more modern leadership style, but practising the art of collaboration, even in basic forms, is sure to bolster your leadership toolkit and give your organisation an advantage in the exciting times ahead.

As a leading provider with 25 years of experience coaching leaders in blue-chip companies and government, Change Partners is perfectly positioned to help you advance.

Ashley Rasebotsa is an International Executive Coach at Change Partners with a passion for empowering leaders and organisations to reach their full potential. He has a wealth of experience in business and makes a meaningful impact with his coaching. Contact him at ashleyrasebotsa@change.co.za or on 067 653 2559 to help you take your performance to the next level.

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