CIO: Collective Leadership --from Me to We

By By Ashok Jade, CIO, Shalimar paints

Ashok jadeWe all have grown learning and following one or more individual charismatic leaders and got inspired by their style of leadership… However; in today’s modern work environment, it is unlikely that one individual alone can be leader and drive everything at workplaces… there is no superman in reality… “My way is Highway”, gone that days… with rapidly changing business environment, this approach certainly will give poor result, rather it will damage more than benefit… and particularly this is very critical in small and medium organisations…Becoming agile, faster, and responsive is very important for any size of organisation and is very critical particularly in SME… How do we achieve this – and answer is – through Collaboration And when it comes to collaboration – then “Collective Leadership” is very essential… and this is what today’s and future leadership style will require to all size and type of organisation… And when it comes to technology function, then it becomes more important that leadership role is driven by multiple members… It is more often observed that leadership role which CIO is expected to play is divested in multiple individuals according to skills required in various situation… in many organisation technology leadership qualities are seen with multiple people… This changing requirement of leadership and multiple technology skilled people availability in organisation is forcing CIO to change his leadership style… CIO being highest technology authority in organisation need to align and cope up with this Model of Leadership…He need to drive his function and cross functions along with other technology leaders in his team and overall in the organisation with this new leadership style… Technology Leadership is expected to utilise expertise and skills of Individual in his functions and cross function… CIO need to break classical reporting structure, form a pool of expertise using multiple sources for innovation and distribute leadership role across…

Particularly, persistent need for SMEs is learning to do more with less. Execute more with less… Benefits more with less… Considering these facts, it is highly recommended for technology leaders to encourage collective behaviours like learning new skills, Knowledge sharing, collaboration and participative decision making process… To make collective leadership concept successful, it is very imperative to attack below problems on top priority…

• Poor communication…

 • Ineffective decision-making…

• Lack of Trust within Team…

• Cynical Atmosphere…

• People working in silos…

 • More competition than collaboration… CIO being in Leadership role, need to create condition and environment in which people can express them freely, they encourage teammembers to go beyond their tribe and the silos and patterns… Understand and recognize that each individual is capable of creating innovation and ideas in their own capacity… When team is fully involved and working to solve problem as group, then quality and speed of solution profoundly will be much higher than norms… If we summarize benefits of Collective Leadership as-

• Tap unidentified potential of people…

• Promotion of Learning and Development culture…

• Trust and bonding between employees…

 • Collective decision and shared responsibility…

• Fearless communication…

• More of Collaboration than competition…

In short, CIO should develop an ability to access collective wisdom of the people around him to create new possibilities… And this not limited to you own team but also to your peer group too… at organisation level, understand and adopt to be part of “Collective Leadership”…

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