Most people will agree that good leadership fuels performance. But what is good leadership? Some believe leading with a carrot brings out the best in people, whilst others believe people need strict boundaries to perform at their best.
The truth is that good leadership looks different in different contexts. It’s subjective; varying from company to company, team to team, project to project.
This is where leadership models come in; they can help assess a leader against the context of their environment. A good leader in one business might not necessarily be as successful in another.
At NSCG, our leadership framework looks at six key competencies: Leads others, understands self, delivers results, leads inclusively, thinks strategically and collaborates with impact. It’s been created, tried and tested by our experts who have decades of experience helping organisations accelerate performance. Grounded in globally recognised frameworks, our model evolves traditional theory to bring in line with the context of leading in the present day..
This series lifts the lid on these competencies, sharing insights from some of our experts. Here Anthony Mcgee shares just what it takes to become an impactful collaborator…
In this piece, we look at how best to become an impactful collaborator. Defined as the ability to successfully work towards a common goal with others. This includes investing in relationships, communicating clearly, persuading, actively listening to others, taking responsibility for mistakes and respecting the diversity of colleagues.
Collaborative leaders create an inclusive environment that engages and energises people, invites creativity, and cultivates a work culture that is both productive and enjoyable. Three traits define collaborative leaders – – influences with impact, negotiates and invests in relationships.
Influences with imapact
Influence is the ability to sway, persuade, or convince others to adopt a specific course of action. It involves the use of persuasive techniques, explanations or negotiation skills to achieve desired results. Good leadership requires the ability to connect, encourage, and inspire their team toward short- and long-term success. Influencing is not about getting others always to agree to our point of view – we may be able to influence them to cooperate but they may not agree with us. This is not about using power or hierarchy to insist on agreement nor about winning at all costs or having to get our own way all of the time. It is not about forcing or getting others to change – we cannot change others. Influencing is about behaving in ways that offers others the invitation to accommodate your views or to change (their behaviour, attitudes, thoughts, and ways) whilst accepting that they may be unable to do so.
Effective influencers understand that people are unique, and draw on different tactics tailored to individuals rather than a one size fits all approach. Successful leaders listen to identify the underlying motives, thoughts and needs of others’ then build a personalised influencing strategy. Because this personalisation is easier when dealing with others one-on-one, to scale influence across larger teams or audiences, effective leaders often draw on storytelling techniques to connect one to many.
Leaders who possess sophisticated negotiation skills can steer a strategic discussion between two parties to resolve an issue in a way that both find acceptable. They can achieve joint decisions when stakeholder parties hold different views or achieve their own objectives despite other participants having different objectives. We look for a number of things when assessing a leaders’ negotiating approaches. Firstly, their ethos – are they motivated to find a common goal or end state, a win-win outcome? Do they accept that other’s needs hold as much value as their own? Do they employ active listening by asking ‘what does this person need?’ and do they play back what someone has said. Can they demonstrate that they are willing to concede ground, having done preparation in advance, and to do so without emotion and with positive intent?.
Invests in relationships
Investing in relationships is no different from investing money. This means building strong connections with team members, colleagues, customers, and other stakeholders and in a business context, doing so to be able to make those relationships matter, by being able to draw on that relationship capital in the future.
The first part is about forming relationships based on trust and rapport with others. The most effective leaders do this intentionally, asking ‘who are my key allies?’ and ‘who can help me achieve my goals?’. They determine who they need to connect with and fulfil a plan about how and when they make connections. Many leaders do this part well but find it harder or less natural to make a habit of regularly reconnecting and investing in the network as a source of future support when needed. Finally, it goes without saying that at their most sustainable, interactions will be genuine and authentic, where parties are willing to give as much as they receive.