For collaboration to be successful, everyone must be a leader. We say that collaboration requires distributed leadership.
And, the benefits of a distributed leadership are many:
- We make the most of the expertise, experience, knowledge and networks of the group.
- Participants are more motivated and committed, which increases the quality of the outcomes and the impact.
- Finally, in the absence of a formal leader, we feel free to be authentically ourselves, more vulnerable and the trust is much higher.
Yet, one thing I observed during my years of experience is that the leadership distribution is not always working from the start. Especially when the experience of collaboration is new.
In this case, groups may need the contribution of a more experienced leader.
That is often a real plus, during the first critical stages of forming and storming, until the co-leaders reach a good level of autonomy.
The role of the experienced leaders consists for example in:
- Helping the authentic connections;
- Establishing the framing and strategic alignment;
- Modelling the right behaviours;
- Providing constructive feedback;
- Assigning new roles when need be;
- Sustaining motivation during some of the most challenging stages of the collaboration;
- Underlining the importance of healthy conflicts, which should never be avoided.
The more experienced leaders will help to take collaboration to another level. As a concrete illustration of how we can benefit, allow me to share below powerful lessons of two experienced leaders.
Their seeds of wisdom will help us develop our exceptional civilisation.
1/ The 5Cs of Denis Prieur
In order to accompany better the future collaborators, Denis Prieur, former Prefect and Counselor of State, with 40 years of experience in the French civil service, has reflected on the necessary qualities, these experiencied leaders need to possess to accompany the uptake of fruitful collaboration. They are called the 5Cs for Consideration, Courage, Clarity, Consistency and Confidence.
Thanks to these powerful principles, it could be easier to:
- Accompany a form of stability of the system;
- Set up the limits to ensure a sustainable and as much as possible smooth journey;
- Secure the players in order to set the course for innovation, during the performing phase.
You can watch this interview with him, it’s gold to me. I hope you will enjoy it too.
2/ The three insights of Kailash Chand
Although I never had the chance to physically meet this very famous English doctor, this person has played an unprecedented role in my life and my research. To be honest, I do not think I would have ever thought of going this far towards a global collaboration movement without his inspiration.
Allow me to share the valuable lessons I learnt from him which will be deemed essential to our journey.
- Real care is free. When this man sadly left us on July 26, 2021 under terrible circumstances, I don’t think he had any idea of the impact he had on others. Every day, he was sharing his seeds of knowledge on social networks. Whether or not he had a reaction, he was just doing it, every morning and every evening. And, in the most natural way, he would respond to us via Messenger when we had a question. Everything about him looked just genuine. What a difference we would make for this world if we all exemplified Adlerian philosophy so beautifully.
- There is a role for a co-leader mentor. All of his quotes were aimed at supporting co-leaders wherever they were sitting, encouraging us to do more, to illustrate the right behaviours, and always feel aligned. For me, these well-chosen quotes acted as a booster to do more at my level. We need to fill this gap now that he is gone.
- Poetry is our common universal language. On some occasions he would share videos of himself reading an Indian poem. To be honest, it took a little bit of effort to appreciate them, without understanding a single word of them. But what he taught me through these videos confirmed that one can indeed collaborate without speaking the same language, making truly visible the power of non-verbal communication to get a message across. A whole world has opened up to me, which I intend to explore more and more.
His Facebook account is still open and I encourage you to have a look.
Many other exemplary leaders have contacted me to offer their help in our collaborative journey.
And because tonight, we will leave 2021, I wish you a very Happy New Year 2022. This one could be a good one, especially if most of us decide to flourish in global collaboration 😉