How would you cope as an astronaut in space when you are on the way to the moon and a disaster occurs? This is about the most extreme working situation you can imagine where the collaboration model is being highly stress tested. Current circumstances are certainly testing the collaboration model in many ways of course, however as leaders we can look at these extreme collaboration situations and build the results back into business. In a February 2019 article “How NASA Teams Work: Practical Lessons from Space Missions,” the mission launched on April 11, 1970 and was supposed to be NASA’s third Moon landing. Hours later, the entire spacecraft was shuddering around the startled crew. Alarm lights lit up in Odyssey and in Mission Control as oxygen pressure fell and power disappeared.
Over several days that followed the accident, mission controllers worked around the clock to get the Apollo 13 crew home, grabbing a few minutes of sleep under their desks when they could. Among many problems that needed to be solved was how to separate the lunar module from the command module before re-entry. A team of six engineers from the University of Toronto was formed and given a mere 6 hours to come up with a solution. Their calculations were relayed to NASA and from there to the astronauts, who were able to successfully apply them. “It was a collaboration, a tale of two groups,” said Lovell in an interview with BBC. “One in a comfortable control room with hot coffee and cigarettes – that had to come up with the ideas to get us back… and the second group in a cold, damp spacecraft to correctly execute those decisions.” There were no egos – only communicative problem-solving. Gene Kranz knew that his team was his most valuable asset and if he wanted them to excel he needed to abandon the traditional command-and-control management style and adopt a collaborative, open leadership approach that engaged and empowered the people around him.
“I will stand behind every decision you make. We came into the room as a team and we’ll go out as a team.”
Gene Kranz, former NASA Flight Director
Collaborative Leadership Behaviour
In a Forbes 2017 article, “Six Crucial Behaviours of Collaborative Leaders” most executives agree that collaboration is more important than ever in today’s turbulent business environment. In fact, a company’s very survival may depend on how well it can combine the potential of its people and the quality of the information they possess with their ability — and willingness — to share that knowledge throughout the organisation. Deloitte’s recent Future of Work research find 65% of the C-Level executives surveyed have a strategic objective to transform their organisation’s culture with a focus on connectivity, communication, and collaboration. To help you optimise the power of collaboration, here are six crucial leadership behaviours:
· Silo “busting”
· Building trust
· Aligning body language
· Promoting diversity
· Sharpening “soft” skills
· Creating “psychological safety”
Working independently or, collaboratively
In Chief Executive Magazine, it is shown that “Great Leadership Teams Optimise Collaboration.” Collaboration is one of those ‘obvious’ things that leadership teams are supposed to be good at. Unfortunately, many struggle to find an optimal balance between working independently and working collaboratively. Some teams view collaboration as something that gets in the way of executing the work while others feel the need to collaborate and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard all of the time. Great leadership teams optimise collaboration. In simple terms they know when it is important for the team to operate together and, perhaps most importantly, they know when it is not necessary for the team to collaborate. Over time great leadership teams optimise collaboration naturally without much thought. However, to build this skill, great leadership teams should take time to discuss and define their purpose as a team, clarify their roles and where integration will be most impactful and discuss and reinforce important collaboration principles.
Role Models for Success
In my blog “Best bosses do these 5 things differently,” I have explored what makes a leader and why great and poor leadership can impact us. The way our bosses interact with us has a massive influence on our work ethic, our mood and even other aspects of our lives. Bad bosses and leaders can really impact your business and organisation. It all comes down to leadership skills; we know that the ‘best’ bosses get the most out of their staff and make them happier, but how do they do it? Five things that great bosses do that keeps their staff happy and enjoying their work:
· Treat Your Staff Like The Individuals They Are
· Push The Purpose
· Regularly Give Personalised Feedback
· Encourage Collaboration And Discussion By Listening
· Be Consistent In Your Leadership Style
Be consistent, champion your organisation’s purpose, give regular feedback and really listen to your staff. None of this is easy, but it’s what the best bosses do!
LeadershipHQ are excited to be working with Veriskills where our Leadership Essentials Program where you are awarded for Collaboration outcomes. Leadership Essentials Program are either a self-paced (not Veriskills) or a group and one on one leadership program which takes 6-9 months and gives participants the human capabilities, tools, skills and resources to be the best person and leader they can be.
The Human Capability outcomes you will be awarded on completion of our Leadership Essentials program are as follows:
- Initiative and Drive (Level 3)
- Communication (Level 3)
- Collaboration (Level 3)
- Empathy (Level 3)
Click here to learn more about Veriskills™, and the Human Capability Framework.
This program and coaching will take your leadership skills to the next level!
Leadership isn’t easy and sometimes we need help. I am always here.
Get in touch today to learn more about how to collaborate and set yourself up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.