Saturday, June 20, 2009 by Dave Blum

One of my favorite books at the moment is “How to make Collaboration Work,” by David Straus (founder of Interaction Associates).   It’s all about ways organizations can (and should) allow key stakeholders to take part in the decision making.

Needless to say, the impetus for collaboration needs to come from the top.  Strauss describes the “facilitative leader” in terms of seven practices, as follows:

1) Share an inspiring vision–something that shines like a beacon towards greater achievement.

2) Focus on results, process and relationship–Along with balancing the bottom line, leaders need to balance the way things get done (process) with how people treat each other in the workplace.

3) Seek maximum appropriate involvement–Although not everyone needs to be involved in every decision, leaders often exclude people needlessly.  Seeking maximum appropriate involvement pays myriad dividends, in terms of trust, communication, increased commitment to action and more informed decision-making.

4) Design pathways to action–Good leaders provide a roadmap for solving problems and attaining goals.

5) Facilitate agreement–Leaders have a big role in creating an environment for safe conversation and participation.   Encouraging a diversity of opinion and honoring individual perspectives goes a long way towards producing clear decisions and quality results.

6) Coach for performance–By working as supportive coaches, leaders encourage people to think outside the norm, to experiment and take risks, and to overcome behaviors that might be holding them back.

7) Celebrate Accomplishment–Facilitative leaders celebrate successes, small and large, and acknowledge individuals and teams for their contributions.  This builds pride, self esteem and commitment to the group.

I think this is wise advice.  How does YOUR leadership measure up to the Seven Practices?