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Using Collaboration as a Leadership tool

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

#TLDR: How to #collaborate without giving up #leadership in a #team setting

Many of us would remember instances when we were working on something exciting and visible at work. It might have been a presentation, a concept, a project or a novel idea. I remember many times when I struggled with striking the balance between #collaboration and #leadership in such cases.


On one hand, I felt too much collaboration would dilute my role while it was equally true that propagating my ideas/proposals through organization required buy-in that would come only through collaboration. I was thinking on these instances and here is what I have learned.


  1. Make your intent clear to your management and those to whom you want to be visible My success was higher whenever I clarified what I wanted to achieve/pursue to key decision makers up front rather than when I just went for the actual deliverable. I think, by providing up front visibility to what I was working on and why, provides my stakeholders context of my activities. Whereas, at other times, some of them looked at my activities as non value adding or not aligned.

  2. Approach your collaboration partners with specific asks while providing the context The times when I approached the collaborators with asks but without explaining the why, some of my collaborators were suspicious and some others didn't prioritize my asks. Either way, I had a tough time to get to my end goal. However, when I explained to my collaborators the context and then made a specific ask, I had a much higher success rate.

  3. Acknowledge the collaboration, but highlight your leadership There were times when I tried to show the overall success as a 'team win' without stressing my contribution as a 'leader'. I found that in those instances, my management was pleased with the outcomes, but they didn't really see my leadership role clearly. This made me rethink my approach to the #communication. I found better success when I showed my role clearly as a leader for the team.


At #PBJAM, we have many #behaviors to choose from that would help you hone these balancing skills. What have been your experiences? What works for you when you are balancing the team contributions with your leadership? Write your comments and questions here.

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