Leadership is one of the key factors that can represent the difference between success and failure of a procurement team.

Along the years, the growing needs of more and more efficient work environments caused the emergence of new leadership styles, from a more traditional leadership, centered on the image of a ‘boss’ who makes all decisions, to more horizontal and collaborative models, which value the freedom and self-reliance of such teams.

Currently, major changes in the job market, such as the adoption of hybrid and home office models, are paving the way from which current leaders can attract, develop and retain talent for procurement teams.

Additionally, factors such as the growing need for innovation and creativity in businesses, the search for a healthier and more balanced work environment, and the evolution of technology and communications, has been changing the right profile of leadership and its teams.

In this post, we’ll explore the differences between traditional and collaborative leadership, and tell how collaboration can be the key to your team’s success.

Traditional leadership vs. collaborative leadership

To have a high-performance team in our days, a procurement leader must go beyond traditional management skills and be prepared for a new market phase: the collaboration era.

Traditional leadership is based on a hierarchical model, in which the leader makes all the decisions and is responsible for the guidance and motivation of team members. This model can work in some situations, but it often results in an unmotivated team, with little creativity punch.

On the other hand, collaborative leadership values the participation of all team members, thus stimulating the exchange of ideas and cooperation among them. This approach can provide more creative and efficient solutions, and also create a more enjoyable and collaborative work environment.

See below the main differences between traditional and collaborative leadership:

A study entitled “The new science of building great teams”, carried out by the Harvard Business Review, for instance, shows that businesses with collaborative leadership have twice the innovation rate, when compared to those with traditional leadership – and show a financial performance up to five times better. Besides, collaborative leadership is also related to a healthier work environment, with greater employee engagement and motivation.

Additionally, another study carried out by the Deloitte consultancy firm, shows that businesses with collaborative leadership have a talent retention rate 31% higher than those with authoritarian leadership. This is due, in part, to the valuing of teamwork and the promotion of a collaborative environment, which encourages the growth and development of employees.

How to be a collaborative procurement leader

In spite of all such benefits, collaborative leadership is an approach that requires commitment and planning to be implemented. It demands an ongoing commitment to clear communication, mutual respect and active participation by all team members. It requires also strong leadership, which can be able to promote and encourage collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

See below some tips that we have collected, to help you exercise collaborative leadership in your procurement team:

  1. Strive to assemble a diversified team

The procurement area is very dynamic and requires diversified people working together, with different profiles. With diverse skills, everybody can then contribute to the achievement of results.

  1. Know the people of your team

The procurement leader must know each member of his/her team, to understand how each one can contribute to business growth.

  1. Be open to constant learning

Never hesitate to ask your team what you don’t know. And try to understand also that risks will always exist, and that there are no exact answers to all questions.

  1. Share your experiences

Whenever possible, share your experiences with the team, along with your path in the area and your history in the job. It’s a way to inspire your team.

  1. Develop your behavioral skills

Behavioral skills make a procurement leader more prepared for the profile of that area. After all, technical skills no longer dominate the industry nowadays.

  1. Listen to what people have to say

Active listening is key to exercise collaborative leadership. It’s a way of showing interest and developing empathy.

  1. Give self-reliance to people

Finally, a good leader knows how to delegate tasks and share responsibilities. Confidence in your team increases productivity and, consequently, also results.

In this article, we explored one of the most important topics for anyone who is a procurement leader or intends to become one of them. Share your opinion and experiences in the comments.

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