As much as I would like to think there are universal concepts; such as leadership begins with relationship development. It might prove unwise to suggest any concept is universally important thus I will resist the urge to do so. Nonetheless it takes relationship development through a collaborative process to ascertain what knowledge resides in each individual. If as a leader or fellow team member I am going to use that knowledge to better the organization or myself I owe the benefactor an explanation as to how the knowledge will be used. It takes the development of a personal connection with another in order for them to willingly offer their knowledge and the only way to develop this connection is to offer oneself as a leader. While this offering is inherently about trust and respect (Rosen, 2000) it generally comes in the form of a vision for the organization based on empathy towards all in the organization; that deeply entrenched desire to improve everyone. This approach allows the leader to avoid the trap of “getting through” to people who do not believe in the vision and instead continue to “be with” people (Black, 1999) as they discover how they might contribute to it on their own terms.
This approach is not without its challenges as it provides fellow leaders and followers with multiple opportunities to say no to the vision. It also offers the promise of a trust based relationship where each collaborative team member can fully appreciate each other’s potential contributions (Stagich, 2006). In addition each team member has the opportunity to question, examine, and validate, the paradigms, assumptions, perceptions and value perspectives they use to understand (Deardorff & Williams, 2006) and co-create the vision of the organization.
Black, J. S. (1999). Global explorers: The next generation of leaders. New York: Routledge.
Deardorff, D. S., & Williams, G. (2006). Synergy Leadership in Quantum Organizations. Self, 37, 40.
Rosen, R. H. (2000). Global literacies: Lessons on business leadership and national cultures. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Stagich, T. (2006). Collaborative leadership and global transformation: Developing collaborative leaders and high synergy organizations. Global Leadership Resources.