Collective leadership
Collective leadership

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Collective leadership

3.1 The Collective Canyon

The following animation introduces the metaphor of the Collective Canyon. This is the ‘space between’ leaders and followers where the relationships, communication, trust and any other social actions happen.

Download this video clip.Video player: The Collective Canyon
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Transcript: The Collective Canyon

[MUSIC PLAYING]
NARRATOR
In every organisation, from blue chip multinationals to your local guide or scout pack, there are leaders and followers. To be a leader, you need followers. And followers do far more than just follow. They, themselves, can be leaders in their own team, at home, and in their social life.
We all want people in organisations to work together towards a common goal with open communication, trust, respect, and sharing their knowledge and experiences.
Building relational bridges across the collective canyon is one way to consider getting the best results, but they're not always well or easily maintained bridges. Disconnect, disinterest, and lack of communication between them and us can cause disengagement and poor performance.
People stop effectively communicating and giving feedback for fear of upsetting each other. In turn, this can cause contradictions in opinion. Therefore, protecting incompetence, rather than confronting it. The bridges become weak, frayed, and broken.
Many bosses view building relationships as trivial, mundane, and soft. And that remembering a birthday or asking about someone's family diverts the focus from work and is, therefore, a waste of time and company money. In fact, the most effective leaders and therefore, effective collectives, get the best results because of effective relationships. Remembering the more mundane activities like listening, trusting, and remembering that people are, more often than not, doing their best.
End transcript: The Collective Canyon
The Collective Canyon
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These practices are sometimes strong between certain individuals or teams or departments. Between others they are weak and therefore need extra attention and maintenance to strengthen them and ensure that collective leadership is effective.

The article below by Mats Alvesson and Stefan Sveningsson supports the argument that building these relationships brings various positive effects for both leaders and followers.

Managers doing leadership: the extra-ordinarization of the mundane [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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