Embracing the shift toward collective leadership

To rise to the challenges of the future, we may need to plan outside the traditional organizational chart

Embracing the shift toward collective leadership

Insurance News


The following is an opinion article written by Rebecca Braitling, Poyee Chiu, and Suzanne Covelli-Buntley, founding partners at Inspirawork.

In this new era of digital transformation, we can all agree that change is the only constant. Organizations are facing new challenges as they continue to strive for growth and add value to their customers. We need to create a supportive work environment that is conducive to collective learning and growth, and transform leadership from an individual act into a collective process.

To thrive in the midst of change, we need to transform the way we think and act by learning and practicing skills that help us lead differently. We must tap into what makes us uniquely human – our social and emotional intelligence – on top of relying upon our technical skills.

To combat our natural tendency to resist change and to help companies lay the groundwork for a better future, we believe companies must commit to the following three principles:

1. Redefine leadership to be more inclusive. Instead of limiting our mental model of leaders to include only people in positions of authority who have very specific and traditional responsibilities, why not flip that around and begin thinking about how leadership can exist in each and every one of us? The future of leadership demands a new mindset and a new set of capabilities. Leadership now requires a “mover” impulse – it is about influencing ourselves and others to take meaningful action.

When we see ourselves as leaders, we become more self-aware of how our values, words and our actions impact others. When we see other people as leaders, we listen more attentively and seek their advice. This simple belief in ourselves, or in another person, can spark an evolution that unleashes the power that’s often hidden within.

2. Create an ecosystem of leadership development. Instead of treating leadership development as a once-and-done activity for selected employees, why not consider it a journey of continuous learning, self-development and discovery for all? Gone are the days when personal growth was defined as a promotion or movement into a new job. Organizations must help their employees look for ways to grow and develop every day within their current positions, and to help them find connections between their personal purpose and their work. To support that journey, organizations must be intentional about their culture, and create and maintain the structure, processes, systems and rewards that foster collaborative and continuous leadership development.

3. Span boundaries to achieve common goals. Instead of focusing leadership on individual achievement, why not turn leadership into a collective activity? To effectively rise to the uncertain challenges of our future, we will need to work beyond traditional organizational chart structures and span boundaries like never before – inside and outside of our organizations, even with competitors.

Getting out of our comfort zones to connect and collaborate with a network of diverse people can accelerate our growth, enhance problem solving, and uncover new possibilities for a better future. However, to fully leverage these opportunities, we need to first learn how to move beyond conflict and competition to generate the empathy, energy and empowerment that brings out the best in us.

Our future is dependent on new levels of passion and purpose. Imagine yourself and your colleagues running to work every day because you all feel valued, inspired, and connected! It all starts with a mindset “flip” that does not see fear, problems and uncertainty, only a positive belief in the opportunity we collectively have in front of us.

The preceding was an opinion article written by Rebecca Braitling, Poyee Chiu, and Suzanne Covelli-Buntley, founding partners at Inspirawork. Inspirawork helps companies facilitate effective change by teaching skills and co-creating organizational solutions that enable teams to embrace change and lay the groundwork for a better future. The views expressed within the article are not necessarily reflective of those of Insurance Business.

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