[one_full last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]Thirty-plus years ago, more than 40 of the nation’s biggest recording artists united to help end famine in Africa. Superstars such as Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, and many more came together to record We are the World.  On the evening of the recording, artists entering the studio were greeted with a sign posted by Quincy Jones that read, “Check your egos at the door.” More than $60 million was raised for humanitarian aid as a result of this collaborative effort.

I am often reminded of this phrase when I think of collaborative leadership.

Rather than a hierarchical, top-down approach to management, collaborative leadership focuses on team-building and empowering team members.

Collaborative leadership recognizes that collectively, power is greater. This approach to leadership requires the ability to “check your ego at the door” in favor of letting the team shine.

Collaborative leaders know the members of their team and the strengths that each brings.  They take the time to connect with individual team members and allow opportunities for team members to connect with each other (Hallowell, 2011). This connectedness helps to establish a positive emotional environment, which is critical as the team works together, grappling with challenges, brainstorming ideas, and developing solutions.  Collaborative leaders share information openly with their team. They listen, valuing the insights of each team member.  While ultimate decisions still lie in the hands of the leader, team members know that their voices are heard.

Collaborative leaders encourage creativity and empower team members, providing opportunities for innovation and transformative initiatives.  The 3 to PhD® Initiative is an excellent example of collaborative leadership. In this collaborative effort, Concordia University, Portland Public Schools, and Trillium Family Services are working together to provide safer, healthier, more educated communities. Leaders from each organization check their egos at the door as they work tirelessly to bring this dream to reality. Through communication and open dialog, ideas are shared, challenges are addressed, and plans are established.  Now, as we look 102 steps east of campus, we see the new facility taking shape!

Yet 3 to PhD is more than just a new school building. It is a collaborative effort that includes health and wellness, early childhood education, state-of-the-art STEAM facilities, and teacher education. Program design teams consisting of Concordia faculty, staff from Faubion School and Trillium Family Services, and community representatives are currently collaborating to assure these programs provide the best possible services to our Faubion and Concordia students. The same mantra of checking egos at the door applies as we work together as collective teams.

Ultimately, the 3 to PhD Initiative epitomizes servant leadership through this collaborative effort. As we collectively strive to serve our community through this endeavor, it is not one person at the top who shines, but rather, the entire community.

— Sheryl Reinisch, Dean, College of Education[/fusion_text][/one_full]