Leading change collaboratively is a robust approach that entails working in groups to deliver organizational dreams and goals. According to DrTashaEurish (2013), teamwork can present many ideas and insights that simplify employee tasks. In the modern workplace, there is no denying that cohesive teams are the ones that boast significant success. Unlike traditional authoritative approaches that entail a top-down leadership style, collaborative change ensures that all stakeholders’ views are integrated into the vision. Moreover, leading change collaboratively succeeds quicker because working together eliminates success inhibitors such as resistance and high turnover rates. Working together also allows employees to learn from each other, thereby avoiding mistakes that undermine progress. Thus, leading change collaboratively aims to deliver organizational goals by leveraging the contributions of cohesive teams.
However, leading change collaboratively warrants proper change practices to create formidable teams. Change resistance is commonplace in most organizations because members bear varying traditions, views, cultures, and backgrounds. In this case, some proposed ideas may be offensive to some employees, or they may misconstrue change as an excuse to sack them. For instance, a conservative workforce may consider implementing technology a threat to their work, whereas millennials will embrace innovation as it streamlines their tasks. Elmore (2000) asserts that leaders should identify change agents, communicate the vision, and implement it to benefit all school stakeholders. Working with many employees on a new concept may be challenging as some may dismiss the idea if only a few details are shared in the first stages. Therefore, leaders should identify change agents to communicate the vision before collaborating and leading change to avoid resistance.
Why Does This Matter?
Leading change collaboratively reinforces leadership structures. Many internal and external factors hinder organizational leadership, such as competition pressure, employee sabotage, and lack of cooperation. Allowing all employees to contribute ideas and insights can unlock cohesiveness, collaboration, and willingness to embrace change. As a result, companies can boast a transformational leadership approach that entails utilizing all stakeholders and their contributions to deliver prescribed goals and objectives. Duggan (2021) posits that a transformational leadership model is people-oriented as leaders are more concerned about individual abilities and well-being and how they influence productivity. Proper leadership enables leaders and employees to share strong bonds that allow employees to volunteer information and feedback, which leaders can utilize to initiate change. In this case, organizations suffering from employee change resistance should employ the leading change collaboratively approach to reinforce its leadership.
Moreover, leading change collaboratively offers efficient conflict resolution practices. Conflicts are common in any organization, necessitating leaders to employ robust problem-solving capabilities (Piercy, 2019). For instance, some leaders may dismiss conflicts as they only affect one department, not knowing that their effects will traverse all departments in due time. In this regard, leading change collaboratively offer crucial conflict resolution remedies as employees familiarize themselves with each other’s problems and are committed to helping each other to excel in the workplace. Collaborative environments deem conflicts as growth and learning opportunities. For instance, when conflicts about disruptive innovations arise, leaders can rule to incorporate those technologies to experiment with their efficiency. Employees and leaders can learn about the rudimentary innovations before integrating them into the workplace. Hence, leading change collaboratively helps resolve conflicts.
Nelson Mandela was a respected leader who utilized collaborative change to register positive progress. South Africa suffered racial segregation cases during apartheid, conflicts that destroyed unity and peace across the nation’s diverse people. However, Nelson Mandela helped redress bad racial relations and prepare the country for immense progress. Mandela resorted to collaborative change by embracing stakeholders from different races, lifeways, and political parties. Leaders should employ a people-oriented approach to align everyone with their vision (Deszca et al., 2016; Uhl-Bien & Arena, 2017). Mandela even accommodated his former adversaries as his initiative was a genuine change, not vengeance. By so doing, Mandela helped different parties to redress their differences and focus on the common objectives of bettering South Africa. Mandela desired a nation predicated on trust, inclusivity, and a sense of belongingness as South Africa needed to become accommodative of diverse people. In essence, Mandela’s collaborative change approach healed South Africa from the effects of apartheid, thereby uniting the nation.
Further, Nelson Mandela pursued an ingenious conflict resolution plan. After assuming the presidency, Mandela created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to address underlying issues that may hinder future progress. TRC encouraged perpetrators and victims of apartheid-era human rights violations to share their experiences in a quest for reconciliation. Through the testimony hearings, the community could forgive, forget, and heal to develop South Africa into what it is today. Unaddressed traumatic experiences are change inhibitors, and thus Mandela’s approach was befitting when most South Africans did not feel at home in their own country. Similarly, leaders can employ Mandela’s strategies in companies to resolve conflicts and ensure that all stakeholders share common objectives and goals. Thus, Nelson Mandela displayed innovative conflict-resolution practices that leaders can emulate to implement collaborative change across companies.
So What? Now What?
I will optimize effective communication to lead my virtual team. The lack of face-to-face interactions can damage teams, as limited communication patterns may harm productivity. Greenburg et al. (2019) assert that in-person meetings allow principals to exercise emotional and social competencies with benefits like effective leadership and healthy relationships with school stakeholders. For example, a principal can examine the stakeholders’ non-verbal cues to determine whether they speak the truth. In virtual interactions, the same process may be impossible. In this regard, I will ensure that I create a formidable virtual team, and I intend to incorporate the latest innovations to attain this goal. I will share multiple platforms we can use to communicate, gathering views on the most appropriate forum. Consequently, I can organize a proper schedule allowing members to log in and discuss significant issues once they arise. Despite the myriad challenges I anticipate, I will employ collaborative change to resolve conflicts and attain success.
Further, I will clearly define roles and responsibilities for improved decision-making. Organizations expose themselves to failure when employees need clear roles to execute (Communication Coach Alexander Lyon, 2018). In the end, employees become unaware of the organizational objectives they are supposed to meet, leading to a firm’s downfall. I will define and assign roles depending on individual abilities and past commitments. People work better when in charge of activities they care about; thus, the team’s abilities will inform the role assignation process. Additionally, team-building activities will enable members to respect each other and their diverse roles. Personal relations are central to team success because friendly members will collaborate to deliver prescribed goals. Therefore, I will define roles for improved decision-making with my team.
Communication Coach Alexander Lyon (2018, Feb 5). Centralization vs. decentralization. (Video). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jviFsd4hhfE&t=3s
Deszca, G., Ingols, C., & Cawsey, T. F. (2019). Organizational change: An action-oriented toolkit. Sage Publications.
DrTashaEurish (2013, Sep 13). Give Your Employees Permission to Simplify by Tasha Eurich. (Video) YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYsIQLaENE8
Duggan, T. (2021). Hierarchical leadership v. non-hierarchical leadership. Bizfluent.
Elmore, R. F. (2000). Building a new structure for school leadership. Albert Shanker Institute.
Greenburg, M.T, Mahfouz D., Davis, M., & Turksma, C. (2019). Social Emotional Learning for Principals. EdCan.
Piercy, C. W. (2019). Problem-solving in teams and groups. University of Kansas Libraries.
Uhl-Bien, M., & Arena, M. (2017). Complexity leadership: Enabling people and organizations for adaptability. Organizational Dynamics, 46(1), 9–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2016.12.001