The Mark of Good Leadership is Success in Collaborative Efforts, with Major General Tammy Smith, Episode #7

It may not sound intuitive to say that one of the most collaborative organizations in existence is the military, but it’s true. In spite of the top-down authority structures and chains of command, collaborative efforts are how the military gets things done. Major General Tammy Smith is my guest on this episode and her unique perspective through the lens of a long and highly decorated military career gives her the kind of authority and expertise from which to speak about the goals and impact of collaboration. In this conversation, we chat about the way collaboration works in a bureaucratic system, why authority is still important in collaborative efforts, and why collaboration is ultimately about the results you achieve. You’ll enjoy Tammy’s frank, clear thinking approach to the subject, so don’t miss this conversation.

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Clarity of intent is essential for powerful collaboration

One of the ways Major General Tammy Smith has seen collaboration in action is through the overriding commitment the military culture has to achieve certain outcomes. In her mind, when the intent of any action or effort is clear, everyone involved is better able to bring their specific skills and approaches to the task in order to bring about that end result. In this conversation, she stresses the importance of leaders keeping the end goal in full view in any collaborative effort, championing that cause to those involved, and stresses how the hallmark of good leadership is successful collaboration.

Collaboration is a human activity that is built on trust

What does it take to truly collaborate with effectiveness? Major General Tammy Smith says that on a fundamental level, trust is the most important thing. Her experience in the U.S. Army has taught her that authority structures and titles never trump the importance of trust and that savvy leaders will work to establish and maintain trust in every interaction. Join us for this stimulating conversation as we discuss the need for trust in every collaborative effort and how you can apply what she’s learned as part of the U.S. Armed Forces to your civilian pursuits.

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Leaders: Get rid of the belief that collaboration erodes your authority

In this conversation, Major General Tammy Smith reminisces about a time early in her military career when she was full of the collaborative spirit, but as she rose to higher positions of authority she got the idea that allowing for collaboration somehow threatened her authority. Being more experienced and wiser now, she says that’s an immature perspective that leaders need to jettison. Successful collaboration is at the very heart of what a good leader is trying to accomplish. You can hear more of Tammy’s insights from her many years of military service and leadership and how she applies those lessons to the civilian realm of business, on this episode of Masters of Leadership.

When collaboration is done right, people want to become a part of it

How do you know if your collaborative efforts have had the impact you desire? The main way is in the results you see coming from it, but there is another clue as well. Major General Tammy Smith says that successful collaborations always attract others who want to be a part of the team that brought about those results. If you want to become the kind of leader who’s known for your success at building and leading great teams, focus on the synergy collaboration provides. You can her Tammy’s insights in this conversation, so be sure to listen.

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Outline of This Episode

  • [1:25] Tammy’s definition of collaboration and why it feels natural to her
  • [2:40] What has made Tammy’s collaboration efforts so successful?
  • [5:35] What is collaboration in the military like and how could civilians learn from it?
  • [10:16] How is civilian collaboration different than what’s done in the military?
  • [13:30] Questions leaders need to be asking about collaboration in the digital world
  • [16:25] Why the older generations need to stop being afraid of Millennials
  • [18:50] Tips for becoming a master of collaboration
  • [22:20] Why leadership and collaboration are so important to Tammy

Resources & People Mentioned

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