When most people talk about someone being an “excellent leader,” they are speaking of a Cooperative leader. Not that they necessarily put it in those terms, but the most effective leader is the one who, while being “one of us” does not compromise his/her role as leader, nor does he/she attempt to shrink from the responsibility or accountability the title and increased paycheck entail.
Cooperation is two parts Compelling Vision, three parts Consensus Building and 95 parts focused on taking the actions necessary to effectively lead the team to the performance level that is necessary for success.
Cooperation, in fact, is a short jump from Consensus Building. If you consider Consensus Building convincing the followers to board the train, Cooperation is the collection of activities that get the train rolling and keeping it on track.
Borrowing from the Harvard Business Review blog post that inspired this series, Cooperative Leaders create value rather than count it. The Cooperative leader obtains excellence from his/her employees as a direct result of instilling excellence into those employees. I am convinced by observation, experience and reading that there is no higher calling for a leader in any organization than to aid and abet the growth of the people working under him or her. This is true regardless of the level at which the leader sits.
I will come back to discuss the comparative merits of Cooperative leadership and try to paint a more complete picture of what it is later in this series. But suffice to say for now, Cooperative leadership is what achieves the highest collective benefits for both the leader and the led. (Which in a backhanded way must mean it’s downhill from here as we discuss the last three Cs. You can be the judge of that.)
Next: The fifth C, Comparison