Autonomy or Collaboration

Sometimes I wonder if living in our consumer oriented culture stunts the development of our understanding and implementation of leadership.

The typical North American branding for leaders has been those created through a personal ascension towards responsibility, goals and achievements. The name of the game has been to increase one's character, competency and capability so you can become the leader you were intended to be.

As a leader, what I've learned most is that in order to grow I need others around me to challenge me, to encourage me and to help refine me. There is a great temptation to try and carve out our own personal slice of leadership glory. But when we choose autonomy over collaboration, we choose position over progress.

Here are three reasons why it pays to pursue collaboration.

1. God is collaborative. Although the existence and relevance of God may be up for debate in some circles, examining every major world religion you will find that God is always projected to work in tandem with either humans, other Gods or other supernatural forces. As a Christian, I believe and hold to the biblical view of the existence of God. In the Bible, God is described as a communal being that exists in perfect relationship within Himself (referred to as God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit), and extends relational connection to His creation.

Because God, who is in the innovator of life, has chosen to exist in a collaborative communal expression within Himself, what would make me believe that isolation and autonomy are the best options for leadership development?

2. Personal gain is an empty pursuit. When is enough enough? The answer is never. No matter what I personally achieve as a leadership, it will always remain shallow if I don't have anyone to share it with. Humans were created for relationship. We invest a great deal of time defining who we are based on the determination of how we are connected to others (parent, child, relative, friend, co-worker, etc.). What this tells us is that at the very core of human culture is the fabric of relationship. True leadership is understanding that growth is about a communal practice not personal gain.

3. Many hands make light work. Have you ever tried to push a car out of the snow by yourself? Unless you are omnipresent (meaning you can be in multiple places at the same time) it is impossible. You need one person (or multiple people) pushing the car and one person steering. Leadership was never intended to be a solo endeavour. Great leaders find ways to work alongside of others by putting their differences of opinion, philosophy or methodology aside.


Are there any other benefits to working collaboratively that you would add to this list?

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