collaborative leaders

Future-Fit Collaborative Leaders

Consider any pressing challenge that leaders and organisations face today, and one thing is almost certain — it cuts across vertical, horizontal, stakeholder, demographic, and geographic boundaries. Collective problems, by definition, need collaborative solutions supported by Collaborative Leaders.

In the traditional hierarchy of organisations, the view is that information flows vertically up and down the chain of command in a more or less controlled manner.

Groups are bounded by function or geography to support better coordination above and below.


The trouble is that today’s workplace is being transformed by social, political and technological drivers, meaning that information and communications can flow from any and all directions, disrupting traditional communication channels, processes and practices.

Leaders, in addition to understanding how to work vertically, now need to know how to work in all directions and with all people regardless of occupation, level, location, ancestry, nationality or religion.


Today, the Leadership advantage goes to those people who are most closely linked with others and can work with a great variety of people across traditional organisational boundaries.


By the way Productive collaboration is not about endless meetings, but opportunities for people to come together to work on something: creating, progressing, and building.

Often organisations mistake interactions such as:

coordination (“I’m handing this over to you”)


or cooperation (“I’m helping you out”)


and communication (“I’m keeping you up to date”)




The very act of collaboration often gleans new information or insights that solves problems and aids the team in their journey towards reaching their goal.

An organisational failure to innovate and come up with creative solutions to

new problems are often actually a failure to effectively collaborate. 


A recent study of senior executives of international firms published by Koran-Ferry, the world’s largest executive search firm, and The Economist resoundingly confirms the thesis that tomorrow’s organisations will be managed by teams of leaders.


Asked who will have the most influence on their global organisations in the next ten years, 61 percent responded ‘teams of leaders’ and only 14 percent said ‘one leader.’


“We have to recognise a new paradigm: not great leaders alone, but great leaders who exist in a fertile relationship with a Great Group. In these creative alliances, the leader and the team are able to achieve something together that neither could achieve alone. The leader finds greatness in the group. And he or she helps the members find it in themselves.”

“Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration,” by Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman


Whether it is called organisational awareness or being people savvy modern days’ leaders increasingly need to develop the mindset, perspective and skills to foster collaboration and creative problem solving.


As a leader, you sit in a complex social ecosystem where you can productively carry out the  connecting, collaborating, communicating and championing roles that foster engagement and collaboration.



Whether you try to reach across boundaries to build engagement and foster innovation, or you feel you are too busy with your own work to collaborate with others, take action today!


You are currently having an impact on the system and the people around you.

Take a moment to reflect upon the most pressing leadership issues you face. Think big, what really matters for driving success?

Boundary leadrship


Now considering your leadership issue what are the specific challenges that can only be solved by leading effectively across boundaries?


  • They cannot be solved by leading within your team, function or region alone
  • They require reaching across boundaries by creating greater direction, alignment and commitment between various groups
  • They require new approaches; what’s worked in the past won’t work now
  • They may need changes in identity; not just changes in operational system and structures, but ‘what we do’and ‘who we are’


Now use the diagram to help describe the What,

Why, How and What of your challenge and record any actions.