Collaborative Leadership has an approach that empowers employees; develop creative and innovative thoughts and actions to strategically contribute and cooperate for the success of a group. Collaborative leaders have a proactive and interactive behavior, have a passion for a cause, take risks, deal with high level of frustration and facilitate a diversity group to accomplish a shared outcome.
According to David Archer and Alex Cameron, a collaborative leader must learn how to share control and knowledge, and believe in the relationships and partnerships builds in order to deliver what was planned, even though these partnerships operate in a different way. The collaborative leader is strongly aware that authority does not work in this role, it is necessary to have an Integrative power, which is the influence to create relationships and bring people together, in order to gain and maintain the group’s loyalty.
The key factors for a collaborative leadership are: invest in strong personal relationships, inject energy and passion in long-term projects and learn to share credit and responsibilities. In the other hand, the barriers for a collaborative leadership are fear, ego, arrogance, defensive attitudes and abuse of power. Collaboration relies on leaders who reach success though resources and people outside their control. Collaboration is crucial to moving companies forward, and the key element is alignment within people, tasks and goals.
Collaborative companies focus on people rather than tasks. Organizations who cultivate, create and encourage this type of leadership lead themselves to the successes. Most leaders make the mistake of solving organizational problems in an old fashion Cartesian method; when they must use both strategy and out-of-the-box approach to lead in unexpected situations (Weick and Sutcliffe 2001 as cited in Farazmand 2007). Crises and emergencies produce complexities, and they require heuristic management systems that are adaptive, skilled, and responsive to the most difficult outcomes.
When facing a crisis management situation, where every step is vital for the group success, trust is the base which leader will build teamwork in order to achieve common goals. It was clear that one of the reasons most of the work done in the crisis management operations of Katrina were unsuccessful relied on the lack of confidence. Thereafter, in situations of high conflict and low trust, collaborative leaders have to emphasize steward and mediator roles. What makes collaborative leadership suitable for this aggravated situation, it is because it has a more distributed view of leadership.
This is especially appropriate in the shared power context, when the mediator role become so important. As to Farazmand (2007), Bureaucratic expertise may be suitable for routine tasks, but bureaucracies are no match for crisis and emergency-driven events with chaotic and unfolding dynamics. As in Ansell (2012), collaborative leaders serve as mediators. These leaders are called upon to facilitate positive exchanges between different stakeholders through adjudication of conflict, to arbitrage between different positions, to stabilize the conditions for positive exchange, and to promote trust-building.
One of the key techniques or qualities for a leader is to adjust all the information and condense it to the common denominators. Ansell (2012) defines four conditions that influence the efficacy of a collaborative leadership: access to resources; the strength of relationships with current and potential partners; regional, state and local authority and service delivery infrastructures; and historical perceptions of workforce development shared by industry and economic development stakeholders.
Farazmand (2007) in his article defines lessons to learn from mistakes made during the crisis management of Katrina Hurricane. As in lesson 8, the author suggests to engage people by acting with transparency. Partnership with people during crisis is essential to reduce anxiety, local institutions and community and neighborhood organizations are essential partners in crisis and emergency management. People “who know the culture and speak the language, whom locals consider ‘one of us’ should be a main part of the process” (Schmitdt, 2006, 10 as cited in Farazmand 2007).
Collaborative leaders, as to Ansell (2012), should provide for transparent communications, promote shared ownership of the process, and other strategies that nurture trust. Summarizing the statement of the author, we can assume collaborative leaders, in their roles as mediators, guarantee the legitimacy and distributional equity of cooperation by setting mutual goals. Leadership is an important variable, as Ansell (2012), in explaining the success or failure of collaborative governance.
The author argues that what differentiate collaborative leadership from other models is that it is facilitative rather than directive. In their model, they proposed that facilitative leadership typically require leaders to play three roles: steward, mediator and catalyst. Stewards facilitate collaboration by helping to convene collaboration and maintain its integrity. Mediators facilitate collaboration by managing conflict and arbitrating exchange between stakeholders.
Catalysts facilitate collaboration by helping to identify and realize value-creating opportunities. In order to become a collaborative leader, it is mandatory to set mutual goals, as service delivery, consensus-building and creative problem solving. This will have a major impact in the prominence of these roles. Surprise management requires ample resources to operate, with no constraints but clear accountability. It also requires critical opportunities to practice surprise management.
It demands full attention, talent, language, and communication as well as personality skills, mostly uncommon ones, to engage extreme, unthinkable conditions and circumstances, people, and dynamics. As mention before, there are many challenges in a crisis-management situation, but the key factor to lead this scenario would be a fusion between both types of leadership, which is the process of a collaborative teamwork, such as transparency, cooperation, empowerment and a high level of trust, but also the directive approach of the traditional leadership in order to achieve the best outcome and manage this type of crisis.