PATHWAYS TO LEAD ACROSS BOUNDARIES - leading without formal authority
Leading across boundaries - leading without formal authority.
“The ever-increasing complexity of today’s world calls for a critical transformation
in leadership from managing and protecting boundaries to boundary spanning”.
What kind of boundaries are you facing?
The boundaries that you may need to work across include vertical, horizontal, stakeholder,
demographic or geographic boundaries.
- Vertical boundaries relate to seniority and authority, such as management levels in a hierarchical organization.
- Horizontal boundaries relate to groups of people with different expertise or experience.
For example, boundaries between groups of engineers and planners.
- Stakeholder boundaries relate to people from different organizations or social groups.
For example, boundaries between the public and private sectors, or boundaries between ‘insiders’ - the local stakeholders - and ‘outsiders’ – the visiting stakeholders.
- Demographic boundaries relate to aspects of human diversity such as gender, age, religion or language.
- Geographic boundaries relate to the physical location.
For example, in a development project that involves managing a major river basin, project partners may be located in different countries.
So, you need to become a "boundary spanning leaders".
This role is needed when the leadership context is characterized by high levels of complexity,
multiple stakeholders, the need for collaboration and partnerships, and the existence of significant
barriers between stakeholders such as those relating to trust, culture, and language.
Let's put apart a second, leaders who work in the development sector - ie, working on projects in developing countries/environments, often humanitarian projects - leading across boundaries means that you have to work across silos. These silos could be there because you work in a matrix environment organization, the other people you need to work with are working for different organizations that have different goals, such as governmental organizations.
Then, to succeed, you'll need a broad range of interpersonal skills, such as the ability to actively listen, demonstrate empathy, manage conflict, negotiate and facilitate.
Second, you need to be able to read, design, cultivate and maintain social networks.
In other words, think about what relationships you will need to strengthen to help deliver the outcomes you want, and ensure that these relationships are in place before they are needed.
Third, you need the ability to influence without authority.
Consequently, you need to draw on sources of personal power such as your credibility, likeability, relationships, and expertise.
Even if you're already good at all this, it's still quite a lot to think of and manage and probably too much to keep in mind. That's where having a coach, as a strategic business partner, that help you to keep on track is not superflu. You don't have to worry, I got proven process to help you build and nurture these networks, to influence without authority through communication.