The five behaviors are arranged in the above diagram just as they are in the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument mentioned last month. Details link
In my approach to collaboration, I have modified the axis titles. On the vertical axis I measure the impact of the decisions (+,-) On the horizontal axis I appreciate that a decision without support is a boat without a sail. Support is required to realize the benefits of a decision.
I then define collaboration as a team’s willingness and ability to build both great decisions AND great support. While all five leadership styles may have a time when they are appropriate, I prefer to collaborate most often to build both great decisions AND great buy-in.
- In this arrangement avoiders live in artificial harmony, often only observing arguments where someone usually “wins”, while others “lose”.
- Accommodators are addicted to being liked sacrificing their contribution to the quality of the decision while enjoying the camaraderie of just being a member of the team.
- Competers are often addicted to being right caring less for buy-in of other team members. They think they know best.
- Compromisers settle for average decisions and average buy-in. Most often this is because they do not know HOW to collaborate deliberately.
- Collaborators have learned how to engage all team members in deliberate dialogue, the conversation that generates learning.
Dialogue is vastly improved through the use of collaboration tools (flow charts, relationship diagrams, decision matrices, etc.). The tools are most often great questions which help the team describe and document the possible root causes, possible solutions, experimental data, and finally decision making criteria and selections.
In all cases the questions and tools do not tell participants what to think, but how to think for a period of time. The questions engage team member thinking to create their own ideas about each situation. Better questions, better ideas. Better ideas, better behavior and results.
Many companies attempt to accomplish these tasks randomly with a wide range of results.
Settling for less than collaboration is a business decision, and often not a very good one.
Book: Collaborate – Tools and Techniques for Productive Meetings, available on Amazon. Includes instructions on how to facilitate 50+ collaboration tools.
Independent trainer and meeting facilitator John Canfield helps clients build high performance business teams. Find out more about he can help your company or organization at http://www.johncanfield.com and www.goodthinkingseries.com. Call or write 616-283-5588 | firstname.lastname@example.org