Leaders Who Want To Become Collaborative
There are six types of leaders who do want to take
The Millennial: Fully 75% of the global workforce
will be Millennials by 2025. Collaboration and
teamwork are how they have gone through school
and how they prefer to work. They want to work in a
collaborative work culture, and if they do not find
one, they will likely leave.
The Futurist: There are leaders who see the future
and want to be sure they are prepared to lead in
it. They find collaborative leadership as a natural
and preferred way to work and go on their inside-out
journey to fully develop their values, vision, mission,
The Legacy Leader: These leaders are close to
retirement and want to leave a legacy of positive
human relationships. They were raised in the “old
school” of power-based leadership, and have made
a few adjustments in their style over time. They
are now at a point in their careers when they can
influence significant change in how people work
The Transformer: This type of leader has had what
can be called a significant personal emotional event
like the loss of a loved one, a heart attack, or a
bankruptcy, that causes them to re-evaluate what
is important in their life. These leaders consciously
decide to make a significant change in how they lead
The Pragmatist: The pragmatist has risen through
the ranks of formal power, is very reluctant to give it
up, but sees the handwriting on the wall. Pragmatists
are frustrated with the slowness of hierarchy and
decide to experiment with other approaches. When
none of these really work, they do their homework
and discover that collaboration is the way they need
to lead, decide to take the journey.
The Traditionalist: This leader is the least willing to
try leading collaboratively. They like things the way
they are. They are conservers and rule-followers, or
they simply resist what they consider to be the
latest “fad.” They find themselves, however, in a
rapidly changing work environment and do not
know what to do. They receive encouragement from
others to take the journey. They resist. And then
something big happens at work—a Millennial is
made their supervisor, or they are merged into
a company with a more collaborative culture.
After months of consideration, they decide to try the
process. Their prospects for success are not very
high, but it’s great they’re giving a shot.
Not everyone is cut out to be a collaborative leader.
But if the leader chooses to take the journey, is the
view worth the climb? The payoffs are immeasurable.
The workplace culture shifts from power to trust as
the driver for behavior. Workers feel psychologically
safe, and are therefore more productive. Teams are
trust-based, aligned, and make the right decisions
quickly with consensus. Organizational changes
are owned and have an 80% chance of success.
Collaboration is the way people naturally want to
work, and in the Digital Age, it is how we must work if
we are to meet the many challenges we face.
Edward M. Marshall, Ph.D. is Founder & Managing Partner of The Marshall Group, LLC. He is a pioneer
and thought leader in the field of collaborative leadership and cultural transformation. Dr. Marshall
teaches leadership at Duke University and is an executive coach. He is the author of Leadership’s 4th
Evolution: Collaboration for the 21st Century.
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