UNCOVER YOUR SECRET CODE TO SUCCESS: SECRET TWO - COLLABORATE

This post is part two of my Leadership Series on the secrets of successful leadership. In my first post, + Secret One: Open yourself up to those around you, I discussed the importance of letting go of your fears and making yourself vulnerable, allowing you to gain self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-actualization.

Now that you are + secure in receiving feedback from others, we'll move on to the next secret.

Secret Two: Success is not a one-person show, but a collaborative effort.

Consider this, you’ve probably been working in your industry or a similar position for a decade or more. You can get in a rut – it’s inevitable. Your logical mind repeats learned responses and your creative mind sometimes just dries up. You have to have to get out of a routine, step out of your office, out of your own head, and take an approach that foments creativity and cooperation.

Successful leaders hire and surround themselves with bright, sharp creative minds who bring something to the table that challenges the leader and makes the leader better.

Think about that – the best leader must be confident enough to surround herself or himself with others who are smart and creative. Often this means hiring those whose ideas are not in complete alignment or at least hiring those who are willing to challenge the leader in a constructive manner.

Because the process of collaboration, the process from which success thrives and grows, does not necessarily mean consensus. It means sharing the entire process and getting personally involved in the means to the end as well as the end in itself.

Greater intellectual power will come from many and from the networking of energy and ideas.

Use your employees and management team as the avenue to make you and your operation a success. Your entire operation will benefit in the microcosm of your business and in the macrocosm of your industry. Seek out the best in those around you. Look to those who work for you to bring new insights and ideas and let them run with them. So much more will come from the process when everyone on the team has an invested interest and collective goals.

Be ready to step up and do the grunt work. True leaders do what they can do lift everyone up.

Regularly offering a helping hand to your employees and management team will likely earn their respect and gratitude.

Don’t be afraid to do the work of those who work for you. If your employees see that what they do is not beneath you, that you are willing to dig in and work side-by-side with them, they will feel that their work is valuable. After all, if it’s good enough for their leader it’s good enough for them. This is not to say to do their job for them, but it’s one aspect of leading by example. I have one executive coaching client who is a highly successful attorney at a huge international law firm. When it is time to put a big presentation together, she always stays and helps with the finishing touches. If that means copying or collating, that’s what she does. She never sees that such work is beneath her – and she always feels that her participation shows those who work for her that she deeply values their contributions. Many leaders forget that even little gestures contribute to success. A great leader steps in wherever and whenever necessary to get the job done.

Have an open door policy.

Remember, success is a two-way street. It means that when you have a new project or assignment, you will actively go out to seek input. But, it also means that you will promote the idea that others can come to you with their ideas, problems, and solutions. If they can initiate a change that will be promising for you and your business, they should be encouraged to do so. This process of collaboration is not then limited to the opportunities you knowingly and deliberately take to the floor. It also encompasses the multitude of other processes that are taken for granted because they already are entrenched in the organization. Let someone with a new idea feel welcome to open even an old idea up for discussion and change. Fresh ideas are the germs of the greatest change.

Embrace your new “collaborative leadership" style.

Remember, great success comes from great collaborations. You don’t have to make it on your own. It’s not enough to ask that your people contribute. You have to be willing to + show a little vulnerability and that you are open, willing and ready to learn from them; you don’t know it all – they can help.

To summarize:

  • Those who are involved feel wanted and integral.
  • Those who feel wanted and integral feel important.
  • Those who feel important, feel an obligation to contribute and make their very best effort.
  • Those who are making a real concerted effort and applying themselves to a task are going to bring their best ideas and be the most creative.
  • Those who are creative are going to get to the best solution.
  • Applying the best solution gets the best results.

This Month's Challenge

 

If you want help in unlocking these secrets and finding your avenue to success, contact me about my coaching services or to book an introductory session.

"Too many people view management as leadership. It’s not. Leadership comes from influence, and influence can come from anyone at any level and in any role. Being open and authentic, helping to lift others up and working toward a common mission build influence. True leadership comes when those around you are influenced by your life in a positive way." - Kurt Uhlir, CEO and co-founder, Sideqik

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