Collaborative Leadership

1st Edition

How to succeed in an interconnected world

Authors: David Archer Alex Cameron
Paperback ISBN: 9780750687058
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 25th November 2008
Page Count: 216


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Collaborative leadership is about delivering results across boundaries. The nature of that boundary is important, whether it's a formal contract or an informal agreement between two parties to work together for a common aim. And leaders need to be clear about where the boundary lies and how to use the different capabilities on either side of it to build a positive and efficient relationship. As the poet Robert Frost once put it, 'Good fences make good neighbours'. Getting value from difference is at the heart of the collaborative leader's task. But that is not without its challenges. As in many marriages, it is often this difference – in skills, experience, resources or culture – that attracts organisations to work together in the first place. Then, as time goes by, people start to rail against that very difference and try to remove it wherever it causes frustration in the joint operation. An often-heard criticism is 'Why can’t they be more like us?'. But of course the truth is that if they were, you'd have lost the very reason that brought the two of you together. So, collaborative leaders have to pull off a tricky balancing act – on the one hand, respecting and valuing the differences of a partner, while on the other, smoothing out some of those differences in the interests of making the relationship work more efficiently. At the same time, leaders have to learn to share control, and to trust a partner to deliver, even though that partner may operate very differently from themselves. Collaborative leadership is a sophisticated art – but mastering this complexity lies at the heart of business success now and in the future.

Key Features

  • Covers a growing area of importance for HR professionals and leaders, especially within public sector organizations
  • The book's authors are highly experienced in working at the leading edge of many complex partnership projects
  • Gives managers and HR professionals practical advice on how to manage sensitive collaborative relationships


Leaders of public private partnerships; Leaders of Joint Ventures; Leaders in Operations, Supply Chain, Procurement; Business Partners in HR, Finance, IT, FM; Human Resource Practitioners.

Table of Contents

The Rise of Collaborative Working; To Collaborate or Not to Collaborate; The Partnership Roadmap; The Three-Legged Stool; The Octagonal Tape Measure; The Grit in the Oyster; The Secrets of Successful Leaders; Why Some Collaborative Leaders Fail; Risk and Opportunity; Conflict and the Collaborative Leader; The Future of Collaboration.


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About the Author

David Archer

Affiliations and Expertise

Founding director of Socia Ltd, London, UK

Alex Cameron

Affiliations and Expertise

Founding director of Socia Ltd, London, UK, and non-executive advisor to Inventa Partners


'This is an important and original book. If anyone doubted the relevance of collaboration, connectivity, and effective leadership in today’s small world, they must have been asleep as the cataclysmic financial events of 2008 unfolded. It’s a book which is relevant to business and public sector leaders alike.' Sir Ian Magee CB, Fellow of the Institute for Government and Senior Advisor, Booz & Company 'In all kinds of business, collaboration is here to stay. Now David Archer and Alex Cameron have created a guide that helps leaders understand what kind of collaboration is right for them, and how to make it work.' Andrew Sharpe, Director of Standards and Technical Services, Rail Safety and Standards Board 'A really practical, how-to-do-it book on collaboration in client-supplier networks. How refreshing to find a book on such a complex subject which is so easy to read and yet so informative.' Nicholas Hallett, Technical Director, Mott MacDonald 'This book gives great insights into the nature of partnerships and many practical ideas on how to make them work effectively.' Andrew Summers CMG, Chairman, Companies House