Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Art of Collaboration: A Portrait of Altruistic Leadership

In today's competitive market anyone who is building a business from scratch or who runs a non profit will find that there are numerous other businesses or organizations doing similar work that they are doing.  This does not mean that one should throw in the towel and give up because one is offering a repetitious service or because they fear competition.  Instead, what one can do is view "competitors" as "collaborators."  When starting a new business or starting out as a new Executive Director humility is an essential characteristic.  Humility is a trait that will compel a person to seek out knowledge and advice from others who have worked in the field longer.  In seeking help and guidance, the seeker will receive both in return.  This is the way that energy works.  The kind of energy that a person puts into their new business or position will dictate the type of energy that they will receive in return and the energy that the foundation will be built upon.

When others see one as a collaborator, they tend to want to help that person succeed because they interpret their motivations to be noble instead of self serving and ego driven.  People perceive collaborators as confident because a collaborator is not afraid to share ideas with others for the simple fact that a collaborator has faith in their abilities.  Ideas can be replicated but creativity cannot be.  If you ask two people to draw a picture you will get two different images.  The concept of drawing a picture is not unique but what comes from the individuals minds eye and makes it's way to paper is the unique aspect.  Therefore the collaborator is not afraid that someone will "take" their idea because they have confidence that they can and will create that which will showcase their personality.

A wise person analyzes themselves and knows both their weaknesses and strengths.  They do not take on what they know that they are unqualified or unskilled at doing.  Instead they consult with others, seek out professionals with the needed skill set and brainstorm collectively on goals and strategies.  As the Poet John Donne wrote, "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were."  Donne's words beautifully illustrates the fact that collaboration is a key component not only for success, but also for survival.  Collaboration strengthens communities and fosters a foundation of trust and good will.  Altruistic leadership is proving to be the leadership style for progressive and global minded leaders as they realize that the decisions that they make has a ripple effect that impacts not only themselves and their employees, but also everyone else.

Robbins Global Innovations

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