Heroic Leaders? No, Thanks. We Need Collaborators.

In the traditional corporate world of yesteryear, majority of those in upper management mostly hid in their corner offices and you could talk to them […]

In the traditional corporate world of yesteryear, majority of those in upper management mostly hid in their corner offices and you could talk to them only with the permission of their secretaries.
These “leaders” didn’t want to mix with their employees, didn’t bother listening to others (because they always knew best) and they really didn’t care for being challenged or asked to share their resources. They were the “Heroic Leaders” who believed that they could achieve great results mostly by themselves.

Luckily, a lot has changed since then, and today leaders understand that being inclusive, present and participating is not only a good leadership practice, but what people want and expect.

According to research by Gallup, Millennials and Gen Zs who now make up 46% of the workforce expect their leaders to be open and transparent

This openness and transparency begins by practicing values such as collaboration, teamwork and trust between the leaders and organization. 

With this sentiment, the question for leaders is: how do we make this happen?
Because weekly catch-ups, wearing a hoodie or happy hours on ZOOM won’t do the trick. Here is what might:

Build Alliances Instead of Competing

The mindset of competition is usually about proving that an individual, or a team is greater than all the others. It is concerned with high performance and efficiency rather than creating benefit for all stakeholders.

The mindset of collaboration is believing that together people can achieve more than they would alone, even though they might be the most amazing superstars.
In other words, collaboration starts with inclusion and accepting the value of diversity.

Collaborative leaders recognize that all individuals have different strengths and weaknesses, and they know how to leverage the strengths. Thy create an environment in which people complement each other instead of competing. They know that all development is co-development and all success is co-created and they invite everyone to play their unique part in the team’s success, together. 

Let Go of Micromanagement

Micromanagement is the bane of every employee’s existence. It is one of the things that employees hate most about their managers, worldwide.
In its essence, micromanagement is about lack of trust, either in people’s abilities, or in their willingness to do their job well.
As leaders, we have to accept that our way isn’t the only right way of doing things and instead of insisting on our way, it is much more productive to trust our people to know how to deliver great results. 

As Apple employees recently wrote in an open letter directed to the company’s executive team, ” . . . let us decide how we work best, and let us do the best work of our lives.”


Put Diversity and Inclusion Front and Center

Sometimes leaders secretly wish that they could make clones of themselves so that everything could go the way they want without any push-backs and discussions.
But through different experiences, backgrounds and knowledge the people who work with us bring unexpected perspectives, often much better than the ones we have. 

Our ideas should be challenged, and healthy confrontation should be present in every team in order to weed out the bad ideas and generate the best solutions possible. 

By welcoming different points of view, we can overcome detrimental things such as “yes-men” or “groupthink” and instead invite and utilize different perspectives, voices and opinions.

With all this said, it’s important to understand that the future will need dynamic, agile, collaborative teams with the ability to adapt fast in uncertain conditions.

Leaders who foster collaboration and who are emotionally strong enough to be challenged and be wrong will create such teams, and together they will find solutions to problems we can’t even see yet. 

I hope these will be your teams.


With leadership greetings,

More Resources For You:

Watch this eye-opening TED Talk “A guide to collaborative leadership” by Lorna Davis