Collaboration or Confusion?
Much has been written and said about the importance of involvement, participation, and collaboration in organizations. This is especially prevalent in sports where players (especially highly paid players) want more input into how the team is managed and which players are selected, and coaches weigh in on who will be hired to run the organization (in other words, who will be their boss).
While employee engagement and feedback are essential parts of participatory management, without structure and clearly articulated levels of responsibility and authority, what is intended to be collaboration may lead to confusion and dissatisfaction. The open question is who is empowered to make decisions on behalf of the organization?
Effective leaders understand that reaching deep into the organization to collect a wide variety of viewpoints can help inform the decision-making process. They also understand and communicate the fact that while this input will be heard, considered, evaluated, and assessed, the responsibility for making the final decision is theirs alone. And when that final decision doesn’t align with the thinking of some of those who offered input, the result can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration. “Why bother to ask for my opinion if you’re not going to act on it?”
For collaboration to work, it is essential that the leader clearly spells out how the decision-making process works, and the way input will be considered. And though there will be times when the final decision is not in sync with the views expressed by some, that does not mean their point of view wasn’t considered. Fact is, it may have helped the leader consider the decision from different perspectives and consider options available should their first choice not work out. This requires superior communication skills and an elevated level of emotional intelligence on the part of the leader, and everyone involved.
Organizational and individual assessments can help set the stage for better, more productive collaboration and high-performance culture. For information on ways in which you can better align your management team, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.