Leadership Tip: Collaboration Leads to Cooperation

Leadership Tip: Collaboration leads to Cooperation

When you are leading a team, the more you collaborate with your team during the planning process and before the final decisions are made, the more cooperation you’ll receive from your team during the implementation process.

Of course, you can’t collaborate on every decision. One of the reasons you are leader is to make big picture, strategic decisions.

Whenever a decision, however, impacts other people, especially if it:

  • Impacts how they do their work…
  • Changes the basic nature of what they do…
  • Significantly impacts the future of the team or organization…

…Collaboration is advised, because it always bring better cooperation from the team.

In fact, the opposite can be equally true. A lack of collaboration naturally brings a lack of cooperation.

And cooperation rocks in organizational health!

Cooperation brings;

  • Collective buy-in
  • A sense of ownership and empowerment
  • Less petty arguments
  • Lower resistance to change
  • More passion towards the vision
  • Shared workload
  • Fewer cases of burnout

What leader doesn’t appreciate those things? 🙂

Leader, learn to collaborate better so your team can learn to cooperate better.

Have you seen this principle in practice? Is collaboration easy for you to do as a leader?

How have you seen this principle work or the opposite effect occur in a team’s health? Help us learn from your experience.

Don’t Address the HOW until you Address the WHAT

I’ve seen it many times…

You have an idea…it’s not a bad idea…it may be a great idea…

You just don’t know yet…

Here’s my advice…

Spend your energies at first on deciding whether it’s an idea worth pursuing…

The what…

Before you spend a lot of energy on the mechanics of the idea…

The how…

You may have to talk about some of the how to decide the what, but spend your first, best and most energy on the what…

For example: Let’s say you have an idea to add a third church service to allow for more growth…or maybe you are thinking of going multi-site…or the idea could be to plant another church. Don’t spend too much time on the how…until you decide the what.

Is this an idea worth pursuing?

Are you willing to give it a try?

Yes or no?  

Spending too much time on the how before you address the what:

  • Gets you bogged down in needless details…
  • Wastes energy that could be used elsewhere…
  • Solves problems you don’t yet and may never have…
  • Creates division about change prematurely…
  • Builds momentum before it’s time…

Once you decide the what, you’ll have more passion, clarity and energy to address the how.

Do you often find yourself addressing the how before you decide the what? 

How They Perceive You as a Leader…More Important…

How your team sees you may be more important than who you are as a leader…

Obviously character is most important…

You’ll often be misunderstood…

You can’t please everyone…

Somedays as a leader…it seems you can’t please anyone…  🙂

The reality of the success of a leader, though, may depend more on how you are viewed by the people you lead than it does on what you do as a leader. I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, that the two are not always the same.

  • Do they see you more as an agent of empowerment or an agent of control?
  • Do the see you more as a champion for their ideas or a killer of their dreams?
  • Do they see you more as a proponent of change or a protector of tradition?
  • Do they see you as a friend of progress or the enemy of success?

Much of your success as a leader will depend on the perception you create among the people you attempt to lead.

So, leader, how are you doing?

Have you ever known a leader who thought he or she was doing better than the team thought?

(BTW, as a shameless plug…I help leaders discover how their team really feels. Brave leaders learn more HERE.)

7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Team

Chances are, if you’ve served on very many teams, that you’ve served on one that is dysfunctional. It appears to me that we have many to choose from in the organizational world. 🙂 A dysfunctional team in simple terms is one that cannot operate at peak efficiency and performance because of a combination of negative characteristics.

If you have been on a dysfunctional team, then you’ve probably seen one or more of of the common traits found among a dysfunctional team. They do have commonalities.

Here are 7 signs of a dysfunctional team:

Team members don’t talk to each other…as much as they talk about each other…

Problems are never addressed; conflict is avoided…the real issues are continually ignored or excused…

No one takes responsibility…and everyone passes blame…

Communication usually brings more tension than progress…and no one is truly honest with each other…

The mention of change makes everyone nervous…and real progress has to be forced or controlled…

Only the leader gets recognition or can make decisions…and team members never feel valued or appreciated…

There are competing visions, goals or objectives….and it’s every team member for his or herself…

Have you served on a dysfunctional team?

(How many of these can you currently see on your team? If there are at least two or three and I’d say you may need to evaluate the team’s health…)

What other signs would you add to my list?

A Huge Thought from: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

I’m reading John Maxwell’s book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently”. I’m three-fourths finished and I’ve been reminded and learned some great stuff so far, but one thing hit me huge today. I see so much truth here from personal experience.

Maxwell claims, “Connectors live what they communicate”. The people who learn to connect with others best live the life they talk about when they communicate. Then Maxwell writes:

Credibility! Here’s how this works in any kind of relationship:

The first six months – communication overrides credibility.

After six months – credibility overrides communication. 

Then he closes that thought by writing, “Credibility is currency for leaders and communicators. With it, they are solvent; without it, they are bankrupt.” 

Wow! I love that! It’s so true. In the beginning of a relationship, you hang on what people say, but as the relationship matures, it doesn’t matter as much what they say…it matters what they do.

Do you see “credibility” and application here? 

Simplified 7-Step Roadmap to Success

In an organizational sense…

Here is a 7 step roadmap to success for a team:

Have a big God-given dream…

Get a clear vision of what success would look like…

Organize a great team…

Formulate a strategic plan of action steps to create a win…

Assign specific tasks to everyone on the team…

Keep pushing forward, even during difficult days, encouraging one another…

Celebrate along the way…

Have you served on a successful team? 

Are You a Leader or Manager?

Are you a leader or a manager?

Every organization needs both, so don’t be ashamed to answer either way, but it’s important that you know the difference, which one you do best, and then try to arrange your career where you can realize your best potential.

In the book “Reviewing Leadership”, the authors Banks and Ledbetter write, “Leadership and management are two distinct yet related systems of action….They are similar in that each involves influence as a way to move ideas forward, and both involve working with people. Both are also concerned with end results. Yet the overriding functions of leadership and management are distinct. Management is about coping with complexity – it is responsive. Leadership is about coping with change – it too is responsive, but mostly it is proactive. More chaos demands more management, and more change always demands more leadership. In general, the purpose of management is to provide order and consistency to organizations, while the primary function of leadershp is to produce change and movement.”

I think that’s a great summary of the differences between leadership and management for organizations and individuals to consider. Too many times we ask good managers to be great leaders or good leaders to be great managers. The problem with being in the wrong fit is that we tend to burn out more quickly when we are not able to live out our giftedness. In addition, we frustrate the people we are supposed to be leading or managing and ultimately we keep the organization from being the best it can be.

Do a self-evaluation of which you are more skilled at doing. Are you a better leader or a better manager?

Don’t try to be someone you are not.

Through experience I’ve learned I identify with one of these roles more than the other. One description fires me up…the other bums me out. (Can you guess which one fires me up?) One comes more naturally for me and the other I struggle to learn…and attempt to delegate when possible.

What about you? Are you in your proper fit? Do you see the difference?

You might also read:

Don’t Be Afraid of Good Management

One Contrast Between a Leader and a Manager

(This is a revised post)

20 Words Associated with Leadership

Here are twenty random words associated with leadership…

  • Purpose
  • Integrity
  • Values
  • Strategy
  • Principles
  • Humility
  • Passion
  • Delegation
  • Empowerment
  • Sincerity
  • Risk
  • Confidence
  • Commitment
  • Wisdom
  • People
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Sensitivity
  • Determination
  • Courage

Plus yours…

What would you add to my list?

Bonus round:

If you had to choose only 5 as being most important…

Which would you choose?

The Leader’s Private Life

The leader’s private life…

The leader’s marriage…

The leader’s family life…

The leader’s physical health…

The leader’s emotional health…

The leader’s spiritual health…

Impacts the leader…which naturally impacts the people he or she leads…

The leader’s private life matters to the health of the team…

You may want to read THIS POST next.

Leader, how is your private life impacting the people or organization you lead?

Not sure…ask them…

I always tell the teams I lead…and remind myself…

We must get better to get bigger…

(BTW, I help “brave” leaders do this…read more HERE.)

In a Church Plant…Hire Generalists not Specialists

In a church plant, no one can be a specialist.

In the early days of Grace Community Church, I did many things I wasn’t necessarily trained or qualified to do. That was even truer in my first church plant, which started smaller, but I suspect it’s true of every church plant. This has been the case for all of our staff. They’ve had to fill roles not assigned to their specific job description.

Specialist concentrate on what they do best.

Generalist, while they may have a specific job title, handle multiple tasks; some better than others.

At Grace, we’ve hired people for specific jobs, but we’ve had to ask everyone to do tasks which weren’t necessarily in their “job description”.

  • Our groups pastor helped launch our second campus.
  • Our family pastor helps with worship planning.
  • Our worship pastor helps with our website.

As the church grows, you may hire more specialists, but honestly, we are living in a day where generalists are more needed than ever. To me, someone’s value to the team increases the more tasks he or she can complete, or they are willing to try.

If you are looking to add to your church staff…consider those who can and are willing to handle multiple roles.

Have you had to handle multiple tasks in your position?

Do you see a change to more generalist or more specialist roles in churches today?