During the pandemic, we saw a lot of changes in our work environment as many transitioned from commuting into the office to working remotely. Work processes were adjusted to fit our new norm, among other areas that impacted our day-to-day, such as our leadership styles.
Given new circumstances, many of us had to quickly adapt and become our own leaders, learning to make decisions on the spot to balance work and life simultaneously. Some organizations embraced this opportunity and began implementing new leadership styles, such as “collective leadership,” the concept where decisions are made collectively and not through a hierarchy system.
Collective experiences should be treated as an asset in a world full of uncertainty and high velocity.
I’m a fan of collective leadership. I find it has several key ingredients of a successful team dynamic: It’s inclusive, breaks down silos, promotes transparency, helps build trust and increases employee engagement and morale. Especially during the pandemic, I found collective leadership to be helpful in making quick decisions and keeping employees focused and engaged during challenging times.
Benefits of Adopting a Collective Leadership Style:
1. It allows employees to be part of the decision-making process. Collective leadership will empower staff to feel like part of the bigger picture. Sharing the decision-making responsibility with those directly involved in the process also enables collective liability, where everyone comes together to ensure the desired end goal is met.
2. It gives employees autonomy. By considering employee feedback, collective leadership gives reassurance that leaders trust employees to do the job they were hired to do. Having autonomy also inspires creativity, giving staff space to think outside the box when designing new products and/or services.
3. It leads to faster buy-in of change and innovation. When decisions are made collectively, employees are more likely to adapt to new changes because they will understand what the change is and why it is necessary. New innovations will also be encouraged when there is collective trust and support.
4. It increases productivity and performance. With more experiences on deck contributing to decisions, outcomes are likely to produce increased productivity and performance. Transparency as a result of collective leadership will result in high morale and employee engagement within the organization, two factors that have a direct correlation to productivity and performance.
Organizations should embrace and implement new leadership styles where employees are encouraged to be a part of the decision-making process. Regardless of your industry, there’s a continuous need for organizations to evolve and meet the ever-changing needs of customers. They can achieve their mission by effectively leveraging their talents’ diverse experiences to identify new solutions and innovations.
Collective experiences should be treated as an asset in a world full of uncertainty and high velocity. Promoting an organizational culture built on collectively shared input and responsibility will result in a team dynamic that will be sustainable for years to come.
Ozlem is a senior management official currently working for the Director of the Office of Communications at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She’s been employed at the IRS for 16 years, possessing a wide range of experience from the Collections, Engagement & Retention Office and the Strategy and Organizational Improvement Office to name a few.
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