The Strategist

Using collaborative elevation to become better leader

03/25/2022 - 09:04

Rigid hierarchy often holds us hostage at work. Now, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that formal authority prevents us from achieving the maximum. Leadership without authority and flexible partnerships are coming to the fore.

Absolute interdependence is one of the main characteristics of the new world. It is time to scrap attitudes like "It is not my responsibility" or "He is not my subordinate". There is now another format of relationship at work: collaborative elevation.

Collaborative elevation is an approach to solving problems together. A superpower that helps you do outstanding things. Scientists have investigated these kinds of connections and have suggested: they are rooted deep in human nature. We have an innate understanding that we achieve more in collaboration than we do alone.

One of the rules of the collaborative elevation is to "build deeper, more meaningful partnerships." And here's an exercise that will refresh collaboration in any team.

One participant explains a problem for 5 minutes. For the next 5 minutes, team members ask questions to dig deeper into the case. And in the last 5 minutes, everyone takes turns giving the most direct and frank opinions possible. Finally, the participant that got the feedback thanks everyone for their ideas and frankness.

There is magic in exercises like these. They build and strengthen group cohesion because they show that all participants are open to new possibilities.

One of the biggest obstacles to self-empowerment is the desire to always be right. It is not easy to get rid of it: we have been taught to stand up for what we believe. But think back to family life. The words "I might actually be wrong" work wonders. They mean your loved one means more to you than proving you are right.

Think about when it's time to stop insisting that you're right. Accept that you may be wrong. If at some point it proves true, then you have learned something. And that's a reason to rejoice.

To prepare the other person to collaborative elevation, think about how you can be useful to them. Try to learn as much as possible about them. And then offer something that can make a real difference.

Learn to serve and share. These ideas are like a double helix of DNA, with each strand supporting and reinforcing the other.

Based on ‘Leading Without Authority: How the New Power of Co-Elevation Can Break Down Silos, Transform Teams, and Reinvent Collaboration’ by Keith Ferrazzi