Can everyone be an inspired leader? Are collaborative management techniques always adapted to situations and people?
To think so would mean ignoring the theories of personalities and their contributions. What say these theories developed by researchers such as Eysenck, Wundt….?
Firstly, that personality is composed of a number of traits that have invariable and identifiable characteristics. Their number varies according to the theories. Relying on the ancient texts, I have identified ten traits whose arrangement defines individuality. Individuality is defined as an overall way of being in the world and of receiving and perceiving others. It includes how to behave, think and react in a context of adaptation to the demands of the social environment. Personality embodies values, i.e. beliefs that give special importance to a particular behaviour and motivate action and self-actualization.
However, according to the researchers, values, and fortiori personalities, oppose each other. Thus, not everyone behaves similarly. This may seem obvious, but when it comes to management or leadership, literature or environment may recommend fashionable ways to manage that are important to decode if we want to understand the origin of crisis or not to be hurt or simply avoid falling into the magic formula. Collaborative management is not an exception and currently exercises on developing intuition, which look more like magical divination than effective approaches to collaborative and intuitive management, develop.
What happens at the level of the individual, either leader or manager. S/he spends most of her/his time in a company, an organization that changes only because of an increasing flexibility and adaptation to change. Thus, after the scientific organization of work, characterized by a centralized management or management in silo, enterprises have been organized around projects and then in networks, giving birth to participatory and now collaborative management, which of course is not always easy to live for individuals whose personalities are marked by the values of security and tradition.
So what would be the ideal personality of a collaborative leader? What would be her/his dominant personality traits?
First collaborative management is not always easy to use. Anything can happen at any time and especially the implosion of the group. It is what I saw during a two-day seminar whose purpose was to create a company around an idea from one of the four future members. The facilitator, supporter of collective intelligence, wanted everyone to express their personal creativity. He succeeded so well that after the two days none of the four associates and friends was talking to each other anymore. Lack of time may be, surely lack of facilitator’s psychology or observation on what could tie these people together around a project, not separate them personally. In this case, the means (use of collaborative techniques) became the end (to prove the validity of this approach). But the approach is not sufficient in itself.
Our collaborative leader must not only let everyone express her/himself and listen but do not lose sight of the goal even if s/he has to become authoritarian. This use of authority is not always well considered by the tenants of collaborative management. Confusion is often made between humanistic and collaborative approach and the rejection of power and authority, in other words, between the container (i.e. the power and the structures set up for an objective) and the content (how to get there, here the collaborative approaches). Collaborative approach does not mean anarchy but requires special qualities of listening, intuition, humility and authority.
It is especially on humility and intuition that I would come back. Humility is the ability to be at the service of … a company, a team, the environment in general. There is much of the expertise of true collaborative leaders: cultivate humility, and faith in his intuition, while remaining firm and rigorous. It is not power which must be challenged as in itself it has no moral connotation of good or evil, but its diversion for limited individual interests although sometimes unconsciously.
Intuition is a quality of inner listening, based on openness: all kinds of information are received, consciously or not, and give rise to an intuition that the leader will crystallize around a project. Intuition is not a guessing game; it is always linked to the reality of the person and it is embedded in the cognitive and emotional abilities of the individual.
In summary, some keywords that characterize the collaborative leader: humility, listening, discernment, self-knowledge, intuition and the other situations. And, as in the world of art, there are some talented persons but even talent requires work, here on self-knowledge and consciousness.