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6 Benefits of Collaborative Leadership Over Solo Leadership

A popular saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”, and this also applicable to leadership. Great leaders understand this and abide by it. Ideally, a leader should avoid using a tactic that prevents team members from participating in activities that advance goal-achieving objectives. 

One of the common misconceptions about leadership is that it should be a lonesome endeavour. Those with this view believe in the myth that every leader needs to lead with aggression and toughness, while some blame their personality type for their choice of solo leadership. 

What Is Solo Leadership?

What defines solo leadership is its traditional or highly hierarchical structure. Nevertheless, it is surprising that today, many organisations still adopt said structure. The solo leader assumes full responsibility for decisions, looks for agreement, and delegates their goals to others. It does not only make a leader less accountable but also stirs challenges and obstacles that persist even in the long term. 

Solo leadership is a self-limiting choice of governing and a path to missed opportunities. Team or collaborative leaders, on the other hand, decide to restrict their own position, look for talent, support diversity, and develop a mission that others are motivated to follow. 

Solo leadership may inconsistently help you achieve desired results but getting results isn’t the whole picture. If, for example, a solo leader creates stringent policies, disregards team- collaboration, but still achieves desired end goal, this may affect the morale among employees, and then employee attrition becomes high.   

Leadership today has moved beyond the “it-all-depends-on-me model” and strict-structure system to a more flexible approach, and you must take out all the constraints stopping you from adopting this flexible management system. Eliminating solo leadership is not only fit for building profound human relationships, but it continues to be a path for organisational breakthroughs, particularly in situations involving conflicts and difficult choices.   

Whether you are more endowed with skills, abilities and knowledge, it is of great value to recognise that the issues, obstacles and challenges that confront organisations cannot be solved in a structure with solo leadership. Instead, the solutions come from communicating with other individuals to facilitate successful agreements and decisions. Collaborative leaders spend time building and empowering people. No wonder the renowned thought-leader and author John Maxwell says leadership is about one life influencing another. 

Leadership is a team sport, and some of the world’s famous and successful leaders have one thing in common, they emphasise the importance of teamwork and agree that great things are never usually done by one person but by a team of enthusiastic people. For example, Scottish-American Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in the late 19th century, led the expansion of the American steel industry and became one of the wealthiest Americans in history. He opines that if each team member gave their all, the collective effort would lead to success.   

Hence, collaborative leadership becomes a critical leadership competency, especially in today’s uncertain and volatile environment, where collaboration is crucial for disruptive thinking, innovation, and improved performance in the business climate and every unit.

What Is Collaborative Leadership?

Collaborative leadership is a style that allows more significant interaction across functional and organisational boundaries in decision processes. It enables a cohesive approach with the team, departments and relevant stakeholders to find solutions.   

Although many dynamics operate among such teams and some risks and challenges are deeply rooted in collaborative leadership, they serve more benefits than solo leadership. If getting ahead in your industry is a priority, then a workforce leadership programme can help reinvent your organisation’s leadership mindset from the traditional solitary fashion to a more collaborative one.   

As a leader, when you take on more leadership roles, you should get comfortable with seeking and accepting help. No one person has a capacity that is greater than the combined capacities of many others. So, it is counter-productive to attempt to perform the duties of multiple people when there is an option to delegate. In the same light, no single person has a wide enough range of talents and abilities to do everything. It takes a significant amount of hubris to try to do everything or control everything.   

Whether you are an independent-thinking leader in your final judgement, you still need to take advantage of participatory leadership to gain new insights, share knowledge, gather stakeholders and assess what alternatives or principles work. The problems many leaders have stem from their inability to embrace differences. You become a creative leader when you can objectively assess other points of view thoughtfully and address difficulties in novel ways. It’s not about living up to stereotypes that fit your identity or pandering to emotions that never produce the intended result. 

In the daily humdrum of keeping the organisations operational, we tend to forget that people remain the greatest asset for any company. Their feelings and opinions should not be considered insignificant or thrown on the scrap heap. Effective leadership requires discernment and emotional intelligence, but solo leadership tends to shield you from forming a rational judgment and being apathetic.   

Since leadership isn’t about oneself, control, or power, then it should in no way be a lonesome endeavour. Managing or leading comes with great responsibilities, and getting it right is very important. An effective leader is solely motivated by the needs of their organisation, such as training, building healthy teams, empowerment, compensation, and talent management, among others.   

Why Should You Choose Collaborative Leadership Over Solo Leadership? 

Why Should You Choose Collaborative Leadership Over Solo Leadership ​

Engaging with your team or adapting to a collaborative team is an excellent way to uncover knowledge, gain new perspectives and make better-informed decisions. So, if you are ready to shift from flying solo to being responsible for others’ performance, here are some proven benefits you can gain from practicing collaborative leadership.

1. Your leadership skills gain momentum

When you embrace collaborative leadership, your leadership potential increases as your inclusion, development, and other skills and abilities grow. You can express your qualifications and competencies, identify objectives to contribute to your organisation, and allow more people to be moved to embrace your goal.   

2. It builds stronger teams

Collaborative leadership helps you build a high-performing team that supports growth and development of individuals. Everyone starts to get visibility into every project, better their skills, and connect more than ever because collaborative leaders look at issues from the perspective of the employees and invest in the empowerment of the team. Members of the team believe they are on a mission and that compels them to collaborate and utilise their combined talent and ingenuity toward achieving a task.  

Most effective leaders use a team leadership approach. By adopting this style, you have a strong, effective team where everyone gives their best work and contributes. Every thriving organisation you see comprises a collaborative team with a mutual goal to outperform its objectives and targets.   

3. Fosters accountability and transparency

While solo leaders are usually challenged with obstacles and internal blocks and fail to get actionable feedback, collaborative leaders, on the other hand, are open with communication and can share results achieved collectively, make decisions quickly and enhance trust between employees. This leadership style makes you intentional about answering to yourself and your team. It offers you multiple perspectives, unbiased information, and honest feedback. Collaborative leadership helps every team member realise that they are complicit in the results.

4. Improved conflict resolution

Teams that operate under a collaborative leadership model are better equipped to settle disputes quickly and reduce the likelihood of further conflicts. This quality can facilitate organisations’ goal-achieving efforts and foster better working relationships.   

5. Enhanced employee engagement

A collaborative leadership style encourages and inspires workers to meet company goals since more engaged employees tend to be more independent and responsible for their work.

6. Leadership Coaching

As you adopt a collaborative leadership style, you can identify unique talents and emerging leaders from within, reducing cost and ensuring leadership continuity.   

Now more than ever, leaders need collaborative competencies to bring in the right talents and position the organisation for success. Leadership isn’t a singular action; you need to motivate, support, engage, promote, reward, validate, and include people in your activities. Workforce Group can partner with you in designing a company fit for the future. 

At Workforce Group, we create custom-tailored training, digital content and conversion, and various implementable tools for companies looking for better ways to engage employees, improve leadership, enhance teamwork, improve performance and align to the company’s vision. We have the knowledge, expertise, and specialisation to deliver our strategic learning and development services. 

If you need further clarifications or require the help of our senior and experienced consultants please reach out to us at hello@workforcegroup.com. 

Olasunkanmi Adenuga

Olasunkanmi Adenuga

Director, Workforce Learning

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