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The Seven Roles Of Being A Collaborative Leader

Edward M. Marshall's book, Transforming The Way We Work -- The Power Of The Collaborative Workplace, remains relevant today, more than a decade after Marshall wrote it.

Particularly useful is the book's section that teaches readers how to be a collaborative leader.

Marshall says that there are seven different, important roles and responsibilities of collaborative leaders when leading teams, and those leaders should select the appropriate style to meet the team's needs.

The seven roles are:
  1. The leader as sponsor -- You provide strategic direction, boundaries and coaching for the team. You also monitor progress and ensure integrity in the team's operating processes.
  2. The leader as facilitator -- You ensure that meetings, team dynamics, and interpersonal relationships function effectively. You also ensure internal coordination of activities among team members.
  3. The leader as coach -- You provide support and guidance and you serve as a sounding board.
  4. The leader as change agent/catalyst -- You hold team members accountable, make the unpopular decisions, energize the group to action and enable breakthroughs where possible.
  5. The leader as healer -- You play the role of the mediator and serve as the catalyst to bring people together.
  6. The leader as member -- You serve as part of the team, taking full responsibility for the success of the team and actively participate in the team's activities.
  7. The leader as manager/administrator -- You serve in a traditional role of tackling the daily administrative responsibilities, processes, and systems essential to managing the boundaries within the larger organization or key stakeholders.
Within any collaborate workplace, leaders will find themselves fulfilling all seven of these roles at different times, and sometimes fulfilling a combination of the seven styles at the same time, while working with work groups and teams.

Four years after Marshall wrote, Transforming The Way We Work, he penned, Building Trust At the Speed Of Change. Marshall won an award for excellence in organization development from the American Society for Training and Development. He holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College, Syracuse University and the University of North Carolina. 

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