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What is collaborative leadership?

You know that important characteristics of collaborative leadership are:

___Insistence on collaborative problem-solving and decision-making.

___Maintenance of an open process.

___Leadership of a process, rather than of people.

Why practice collaborative leadership?

You know that advantages of collaborative leadership include:


___More involvement in implementation.

___Trust building.

___Elimination of turf issues.

___Access to more and better information and ideas.

___Better opportunity for substantive results..

___Generation of new leadership.

___Community or organizational empowerment.

___Fundamental change for the better in the ways communities and organizations operate.

You recognize some disadvantages of collaborative leadership:

___It's time-consuming.

___It demands the ability to face conflict directly

___It may mean trying to overcome resistance to the whole idea of collaborative leadership.

___It can lead to groups taking what seems to you to be the wrong path.

___It demands that leaders subordinate their egos.

When is collaborative leadership appropriate?

You practice collaborative leadership when:

___Problems are serious and complex, and both affect and require attention from a number of individuals and groups.

___There are a number of diverse stakeholders, or stakeholders with varied interests.

___Other attempts at solutions haven't worked.

___An issue affects a whole organization or a whole community.

___Inclusiveness and empowerment are goals of the process from the beginning.

Who are real and potential collaborative leaders?

You recognize collaborative leaders as people who:

___Have community credibility.

___Relate respectfully and easily to all groups in the community.

___Have good facilitation skills.

___Can act as catalysts for the collaborative process.

___Nurture new leadership.

___Have a commitment to the collaborative, open process.

___Focus on the good of the organization, collaborative or community as a whole.

How do you practice collaborative leadership?

You lead the process:

___You help the group set norms that it can live by, and that encourage respect, participation, and trust.

___You assure that everyone gets heard.

___You encourage and model inclusiveness.

___You help people make real connections with one another.

___You mediate conflicts and disputes.

___You help the group create and use mechanisms for soliciting ideas.

___You maintain collaborative problem-solving and decision-making.

___You push the group toward effectiveness by:

___You help the group choose initial projects that are doable, in order to build confidence and demonstrate collaborative success.

___You help the group identify and obtain the necessary resources to do the work.

___You insist on and protect an open process,

___You keep the group focused on what's best for the organization, collaborative, or community as a whole, rather than on individual interests.

You recognize and use the leadership context:

___You know (or learn about) the community:

  • Its history (including its history with the current issue).
  • Its people and organizations and their relationships with one another.
  • Its current situation.

___You understand the nature of the problem, including factors unique to the community.

___You understand potential barriers to collaboration, and how to overcome them.

___You know how open people are to change, and where you have to start in order to be successful.

___You motivate the group and keep them focused on the goals.

___You are realistic about what the group can take on at any given time.

___You are flexible in your dealings with people and ideas.

___You are inflexible in your protection of the inclusive, open, collaborative process.

___You forego the need to satisfy your ego.

___You encourage new ideas from others.

___You encourage new leadership from within the group.

___You step aside, temporarily or permanently, when appropriate.