Three Challenging Aspects of Collaboration

This blog post expands on my points about collaboration in my talk at the Singapore Management University in March 2014.

If leaders were skilled at collaboration, we’d see more resource sharing, innovation, better leadership, more inspiration, and the human capacity would expand. This would benefit the world – men and women alike. Often, however, women are considered better collaborators than men. Frequently we read about women’s more collaborative approach to leadership, and this is great. We should not take this observation for granted, though. I’d like to assert that what we mean by “women’s collaboration” is often confused with women’s capability to make friends, not actual collaboration.knots-and-hands.web

One of the reasons for women to lean into friendship-making more than collaboration may be the short history of women in the business world as leaders. Women have gained practice in working Continue reading Three Challenging Aspects of Collaboration

Why The Heck Is Collaboration So Hard?

This blog post expands on one of my points of my talk at the Singapore Management University earlier in March 2014.

When I’m working with managers on their development as leaders, the challenge of collaboration comes up frequently. It has made me think about this age-old question: Why the heck is collaboration so hard? I want to take a closer look at the concept of Collaborative Leadership for a couple of reasons: first, the research that I have done in this area supports an interactive course in Collaborative Leadership I’m currently teaching at the Bellevue College and second, it is often considered to be a representation of the feminine way to lead.

While most companies proclaim “collaboration” as one of their values, I believe it is one of the most misunderstood and underutilized concepts of our time. Many react to the word emotionally: some even consider it a waste of time, a feel-good “kumbaya” circle that is an ineffective way to produce results. However, if we took a closer look at what “collaboration” actually requires, we might conclude that it is hardcore stuff that has bottom-line effects. Continue reading Why The Heck Is Collaboration So Hard?

What Friendship-Making Teaches New Managers About Leadership

Can you tell I have been busy? When there is a long gap between blog posts, it’s a sign of busy times. Not only have I been working with organizations that are investing in new manager leadership training and coaching, I have also had additional invitations to speak at conferences.  Most recently I was invited to speak at an international women’s leadership conference in Singapore.  It was a wonderful experience – sharing and exchanging ideas and perspectives with thought leaders from around the world. Exciting! Inspiring!

In the next few blog posts I will share some key points of my thinking based on my talk in Singapore.  Here is the first installation.

Friendship-Making Leads to TrustFriends-forever.web

Most of us have a best friend. Even Oprah has Gail. Heidi is my best girl friend. I learned to trust her so much through the years we worked together and became such fast friends that I often told her that if I ever divorced, I’d move in with her because I so trust her. There is hardly anything we have not shared Continue reading What Friendship-Making Teaches New Managers About Leadership

Leadership Training Focuses on the Mindset

The participants in my New Manager Leadership Training learn to develop awareness about their mindset. The mindset is an indicator of how successful we are in our relationships – at work and at home. Our belief system always plays out in the world of our choices, decisions and actions.

New Management Leadership TrainingA client, let’s call her “Liz” to protect her identity, recently fired her doctor because of the doctor’s mindset. Liz has a cancerous tumor pressing on her brain. The doctor, one of the most credentialed in cancer research, kept telling Liz that she will most likely need to use the strongest possible radiation to kill the cancer in her head after they have removed the tumor. She said Liz will most likely lose her eye sight and other functions. When Liz burst into tears at the news, the doctor simply repeated “the facts”. She said the cancer is so difficult to treat that it is best for them to prepare for the worst.  Liz is already a cancer survivor of a different type of cancer and would not accept that. She knows what a positive attitude can do.

She explained to me why she had demanded the hospital assign her to another doctor. Liz said: ”Kristiina, if my doctor can see only the worst possible outcome, she will make it so when she will be treating me. People do not want to be wrong, and I don’t want to help prove her right.  Continue reading Leadership Training Focuses on the Mindset

A Matter of Trust

With talk of security breaches surfacing in the news recently, the issue of trust comes to mind. The very concept may seem a bit old fashioned in an age where we’ve relaxed our standards about a good many virtues, but as all the press shows, being able to trust our leaders is as important as it’s always been. For our leaders ever to become leaders in the first place, they must gain our trust. Once they have, to remain in good standing requires our continued trust. And if they lose our trust, we all know how difficult, and in certain circumstances, impossible it is for them to regain it.

New Manager Leadership TrainingThis is just as true for business leaders as it is for politicians. Because it is such an essential ingredient, one of the first topics I bring up in my New Manager Leadership Training course is this issue of trust.

Employees don’t like to feel they are being managed. It goes against human nature to relinquish control. However, they feel empowered following a leader they can trust. Continue reading A Matter of Trust