8 Tips for Collaborative Success from Leadership NOW AlumniJune 29, 2016

Leadership NOW’s very first cohort celebrated the successful completion of the yearlong leadership development program in June. As part of “Optimizing Leadership Effectiveness” – offered by the Flint & Genesee Chamber and the United Way of Genesee County – the participants learned how to develop effective partnerships and collaborative initiatives, in addition to building their leadership skills.

Below, the alumni share some key tips for making the most of a collaborative project:

  1. Have clear goals and objectives. Take the time to flesh out the project – including its key steps and any needed check points – so that your team will be better prepared to move in the same direction. ~ Jennifer Walters, Operations Director, Comfort Keepers, Burton
  2. Define key terms related to your project. By using the same language, your team members will be better able to understand each other. ~ Merinda Brisbane, PrivateBank Relationship Associate, FirstMerit Bank, Flint
  3. Check in with team members at every meeting. Ask if there are any concerns. Sometimes people avoid bringing up issues in an effort to maintain harmony, but that ultimately causes bigger problems down the road. ~ Pharlon Randle, Owner and Manager of Folla Me LLC/Bangtown Mobile Studio
  4. Stay focused on one topic at a time. Otherwise, you might find yourself at the end of a two-hour meeting without any clear decisions made. In the case that someone gets off topic, write down his or her idea and return to it later. ~ Karena Hamlet, Business Development Manager at the Flint & Genesee Chamber
  5. Leave your ego at the door. By focusing on the needs of the people you serve, versus your title or status, you can better address issues and have a positive impact. ~ Sounya Walker, Director of Mott Community College’s Gateway to College Program & Adult Education
  6. Recognize that your role will change over the course of an assignment. By understanding your leadership style (we used the Leadership Effectiveness Assessment), you can make more informed decisions on when to lead and when to follow. ~ Richard Russell Jr., Special Projects Coordinator, University of Michigan-Flint
  7. Prepare for contingencies. If and when you run into a roadblock, don’t feel as though you have to start over from scratch. Instead, be ready to adapt. ~ Raymond Curtin, President, CDC Corporation
  8. Keep an open mind. When a person feels ownership over a project, they might see collaboration as having to give something up. However, to achieve the best possible outcome, it’s important to encourage everyone to speak their mind and share ideas. ~ Christy Rivette, Senior Program Coordinator, National Kidney Foundation of Michigan

Looking forward, Leadership NOW will begin conducting information sessions in October for the program's third cohort, which will kick off in January 2017.