Collaborative Leadership

This past weekend I attended the United Brotherhood of Union Carpenters’, Collaborative Leadership Training at their facility in Las Vegas. This three-day program was designed to increase the range of skills in today’s leaders, and infuse a new mindset to succeed in our increasingly fast-paced, chaotic, and highly competitive industry. This calls for a more collaborative-based leadership — one based on a partnership culture instead of the current command and control culture.

The International Training Center (ITC), which extends over a million square feet, is a tribute to the Brotherhood’s commitment to productivity and skill training. The ITC works to put rapidly in-demand skills into the field through training in their shops and classrooms. They offer two types of training:

1) Train the trainer: where they develop and train local trainers who deliver the most current craft-skills and instruction to members at more than 200 centers around North America. Core courses include: interior systems scaffolding, concrete formwork, commercial doors and hardware, gas and steam turbine installation and maintenance, and many more.
2) The second type of training offered is Member Training, which is what this past weekend was all about. We started by understanding our management style by taking a DiSC assessment profile. The DiSC profile, besides helping you understand yourself and others better, teaches you how your work style affects others and how to adapt in order to increase your effectiveness.
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The second day of training focused on overcoming generational differences in order to increase collaboration. Knowing what each generation values is key in order to adjust communication to be more effective across age groups.

Additionally, we discussed transformational leadership and the importance of individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, and inspirational motivation for each employee:

The mentality in our workforce has shifted. In the past, leaders ruled with an iron fist, demanding productivity and results. That doesn’t fly today. Today’s leaders need to be collaborative and lead the process rather than to lead the people involved toward a particular decision. By opening the process up, leaders will gain better information and ideas from their employees.

“Leadership creates performance in people because it impacts willingness; it’s a matter of modeling, inspiring, and reinforcing.” – Stan Slap

For the second part of day two we broke into smaller groups to complete a hands-on exercise that highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration on our job sites. While I’m sworn to secrecy on the details, I will say it really showcased the issues that occur daily on job sites when teams fail to communicate.

The last day centered on developing your personal brand and making it matter. A personal brand is how you market yourself to others. It is important to a consistent message that you present in person and online. Having a personal brand can help you become an essential employee to your organization. The last thing we did before departing was put together an action plan for how to implement these changes.
Overall, I really enjoyed the training. Learning how to improve my collaboration and communication skills will only help me improve my effectiveness within my organization and with others outside the company I interact with on a regular basis. Understanding how the workforce has changed and how to accommodate those changes is essential for leaders and their employees to achieve success in the future.

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