Priority #3: Team Leadership and a Collaborative Orientation

collaborate_Jonny goldstein.jpg

Photo Credit: collaborate, by Jonny Goldstein, Flickr

I’m in a mini-series sharing my 4 Top Leadership Priorities. These priorities are central to what I teach others about leadership in classes, and these priorities inform how I want to lead personally.

In the past two weeks I settled in on the first and second priorities: Servant Leadership and Follower Focus and Transformational Leadership and Organizational Transformation. This week I’ll settle in on the third priority: Team Leadership and a Collaborative Orientation.

Leadership & Collaboration

The great temptation of leaders is to try to go it alone. But as the complexity of our world increases, today’s challenges need insights from multiple perspectives. Collaborative approaches to leadership and the use of teams recognizes and affirms that great wisdom exists within the people of organizations.

Rather than providing an overly directive or top-down approach to leadership, collaborative and team-oriented approaches to leadership harnesses the wisdom and insights of the people on teams. This leadership commitment is about leveraging team wisdom and utilizing collaboration toward the end of decentralizing authority and empowering people to effectively carry out local work.

What is a Team?

In another post I tackle the question of how teams differ from groups. The core of my presentation in that article is the definitions or descriptions of bot teas and groups.

I describe teams as individuals bringing together coordinated work in light of collective goals. This description stands in contrast to groups that organize around individuals bringing together independent work in light of individual goals. Both teams and groups have an important role to play in collaborative efforts, but it is helpful to highlight the difference between the two. Whether using teams or groups, great wisdom can come through collaborative endeavors.

What are the Benefits of Teams?

So why are teams important? Again, I’ll point to a previous post in which I highlight 4 Benefits of Teams. In that post I argue that teams provide the following core benefits:

  1. Better Ideas and Increased Insight
  2. Increased Courage to Face Challenges
  3. The Presence of Peer Support
  4. A Context for Mentoring and Training

Teams, Collaboration, & You

Truth be told, everyone brings their own experience with teams to the table. Some love teams. Others may have experienced some of the challenges associates with teams. Either way, as the needs and demands our organizations face increase, so rises the need that leaders and followers alike have for collaborating with others and gaining the wisdom of teams.

Take some time in the coming days to think through meaningful steps you can take to lean into the wisdom of your team and foster a spirit of collaboration in your organization.


In my final post next week, I’ll turn my attention to the fourth leadership priority: Purpose in Leadership and Meaning-Based Living.

2 thoughts on “Priority #3: Team Leadership and a Collaborative Orientation

  1. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

  2. Pingback: Priority #4: Purpose in Leadership and Meaning-Based Living | Purpose in Leadership

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