Leadership is a skill that requires a blend of various qualities like decision-making, confidence, and assertiveness. But, not all successful leaders have the ability to work collaboratively. Often, these leaders may struggle to adapt to positions where their commanding decision-making style isn’t as effective.

Leaders used to make decisions without much input from others may find themselves surrounded by peers and team members with valuable experience, technical knowledge, and expertise. They understand the social dynamics of the team, company, or organization. However, these leaders continue to work and direct from their position or title, and their overconfidence blinds them to the opportunities that collaboration with others can offer.

If a leader doesn’t shift their mindset to a more collaborative style, their controlling leadership style can become off-putting, if not downright toxic. Leaders must include others’ input and suggestions when making decisions.

According to a recent article titled “Becoming More Collaborative — When You Like to Be in Control” by Jenny Fernandez and Luis Velasquez, leaders who struggle with this issue can make necessary changes by reflecting on why and how they approach decision-making situations.

The authors present three detailed steps to make the mindset and behavioural changes required to become more collaborative.

First, leaders need to determine why they make decisions in isolation. They need to ask themselves if they think decision-making is a simple gut reaction if they think other people’s opinions don’t matter, if they believe they own decision-making rights, or if they believe only they can make the right decision.

Second, leaders need to determine how they want to reposition themselves as a leader. They must cultivate humility and acknowledge that their way is not the only way. Asking for input is not a weakness; on the contrary, it’s an advantage that will only make their decision-making more effective. They must practice curiosity, be open to learning, and weigh all the options to reach a better outcome. They must be long-term thinkers and consider the consequences of their decisions, as well as the indirect or unintended results of their decision.

Finally, leaders need to take action. They should seek different perspectives to bring better information that most likely wasn’t on their radar and fosters creativity, collaboration, and engagement. They need to change their position into an option. Overconfident leaders tend to lead with positions, which can lead to confrontations and a winner-takes-all attitude. They need to engage their team in the process, as the higher, they are in the organization, the more they’ll depend on others to execute their vision and goals. Winning becomes a team sport!

In conclusion, leaders who struggle to be more collaborative only need to reflect on their personal beliefs and embrace a more humble and curious side to make the necessary changes. Becoming a collaborative leader requires effort but is worth it in the long run.

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