The Collaborative Leader

The ultimate leadership challenge

By: L Michael Hall , Ian McDermott


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 216 x 140mm
Pages : 208
ISBN : 9781785830099
Format: Paperback
Published: October 2016

In The Collaborative Leader, L. Michael Hall and Ian McDermott answer key questions about leadership. What is collaboration? How does it relate to leadership? How do you do it effectively? How do you pull people together, inspire them with a meaningful vision, and organise them so that a team spirit emerges and peak performance is achieved?

The Collaborative Leader is a practical guide to collaborating with others and leading collaboratively. That means learning how to win the hearts and minds of those who we lead. Packed with practical and immediate action points, the book will show you how to turn around a non-collaborative group or environment immediately. You will find assessment questions throughout, step-by-step processes on collaboration, and an invitation to action at the end of each chapter: a personal challenge to step up to the collaborative level of leadership. Learn the core competencies that facilitate a healthy, joyful, and productive collaboration.

The foundation of collaborative leadership is self-collaboration. The leader who cannot effectively collaborate cannot effectively lead. If you are to walk your talk, you need to demonstrate collaborative skills yourself, and this book will show you the ‘how to’s’ for developing the critical success elements of leadership. The best collaborators are those who have lots of fun collaborating. The goal can be serious. The collaboration can be fun. Learn how it’s possible by understanding the structure and processes of collaboration.

Whether you’re responsible for team or organisational development, you’ll find plenty here to inspire you to transform your leadership into collaborative leadership.

Chapters include:

Part I: The Foundations of Collaborative Leadership—Leading the Call

1. The Vision—Why Bother?

2. The Mirror—Where Are You?

3. What Is a Collaborative Leader?

4. Challenges To Collaborative Leadership

Part II: Collaborative Leadership—The How To

5. The Collaborative Pathway—How Do We Get There?

6. Calling For and Inspiring Collaboration—Inviting Others

7. Choosing To Collaborate—Making the Decision

8. Creating a Culture of Collaboration—Collaboration Inside Out

9. Combining Differences For Synergy—Welcoming and Integrating

10. Integrating Self and Others—The Collaborative Quadrants

11. Believing In Collaboration

12 The Principles of Collaboration

13. The Bigger Game of Collaboration

14. The States of Collaboration

15. The Call To Be a Collaborative Leader

Part III: Collaborative Leadership Challenges—There Be Dragons!

16. How Collaborations Can Go Wrong

17. Pseudo-Collaboration—The Talk Without the Walk

18. Collaboration In Crisis

“Two Books that I Would Recommend” by Thomas Stansfield.


‘The Collaborative Leader’ was a finalist in the business and economics category in the 2016 Foreword Indies Awards.


Picture for author L Michael Hall

L Michael Hall

L. Michael Hall is a Cognitive Psychologist who through research into NLP and Self-Actualization Psychology is now a modeler of human excellence; he has completed 15 modeling projects from Resilience, Women in Leadership, Self-Actualization, Coaching, Self-Actualizing Leaders, Managers, and Companies, Selling, Defusing, Wealth Creation, etc. He has authored 50 NLP books and a series on Meta-Coaching. Michael co-founded the ISNS (International Society of Neuro-Semantics) and the MCF (Meta-Coaching Foundation) and is an internationally renowned trainer. For his free weekly newsletter, Neurons, go to to sign up.

Click here to visit L Michael Hall's site on Self-Actualization.

Picture for author Ian McDermott

Ian McDermott

Ian McDermott specialises in giving people the skills to innovate their own collaborative leadership solutions. Much of his time is spent advising senior leaders worldwide and coaching the next generation to be innovative leaders.

Ian is an Honorary Fellow of Exeter University Business School where his focus is on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. He is Dean of Innovation & Learning for the Purposeful Planning Institute in the US and his work is featured in the Open University's MBA course Creativity, Innovation and Change'. Ian is External Faculty at Henley Business School where he helped create the MSc. in Coaching and Behavioral Change. He is also a UKCP registered psychotherapist.

Ian McDermott has pioneered Leadership and Innovation Coaching, has trained a generation of coaches, is a member of the Association for Coaching's Global Advisory Panel and is AC Global Ambassador for Innovation and Collaboration.

Based in the UK and the US, he is an acknowledged thought leader. A published authority, he has authored and co-authored fifteen books on systems thinking, NLP and coaching. Titles include The Art of Systems Thinking, Principles of NLP and The Coaching Bible.

Ian's primary focus is on delivering practical how-tos' to ensure that learning in leadership and change, innovation and collaboration really happen. That's why he set up International Teaching Seminars (ITS).

25+ years on ITS continues to pioneer the application of practical techniques which are grounded in sound neuroscience for individuals, teams and organizations.

For details of consultancy, coaching and training:


  1. Exceptionally well written and thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, content, commentary, organization and presentation, The Collaborative Leader is especially recommended to the attention of anyone responsible for team or organizational development. While very highly recommended for corporate, community, and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that The Collaborative Leader is also available in a Kindle format.

    Click here to see the review on their website.

  2. Learning how to win the hearts and minds of those who we lead. Now there's a challenge!

    Collaborative leadership - it's all about how we make our teams feel as part of the journey, but it's also about being self-collaborative. 'The leader who cannot effectively collaborate cannot effectively lead,' intone the authors, and this is what the book is all about. Walk the talk, lead by example, demonstrate collaboration in all that you do. Not a lot to do then! But is it that tall an order?

    If you're feeling brave, turn to the back of the book to take a self-test to find out what kind of and whether you are a collaborative leader. It's eye opening in that you might find you're weaker at it than you think because there's not much room for manoeuvre in terms of fitting your leadership skills, whatever they may be, into the descriptions offered unless you're suffering from ostrich syndrome (aka burying your head in the sand!) - in which case maybe you shouldn't be reading this book, given your expert status!

    McDermott and Hall talk of the subject of their labour as 'being on a pathway', which is detailed in ten stages by them and is seen as akin to moving through a process. Conversely, when you're in the thick of it though leading a team and taking care of all the associated demands while trying to be collaborative and all that goes with it, there's no time to process things. You need to just get on with it as best you know how but with the ten steps at hand, issues such as being innovative in terms of how to lead through to ensuring the fruits of collaborative leadership are celebrated by all should come as easily as riding a bike (assuming you've been on two wheels previously, that is!). All a bit pie-in-the-sky for you at this point? Hold on, it gets better...

    So what's the ultimate way of getting this kind of leadership to work? If you allowed yourself to dig too deep, you could get swamped in the various models referred to that talk about everything from the collaborative quadrant axes detailing what you alone can do Vs what you and others can achieve together to exploring your collaborative quotient! Eh? There's the technical piece and there's the technical piece. This is a potential downside of the book in that the text can get a little top heavy at times with theory but then it rescues itself with good practical advice suggesting that abilities such as flexibility, advocacy and being well-organised can ensure a collaborative leader will function effectively.

    Leading effectively though can mean different things to different people and working environments but the injection of fun into the equation brings about an unexpected twist to the situation. While the objective of collaborative leadership can be serious, the collaboration element can be fun. according to the authors. Structuring activities in a certain way by empowering others, for example, to make decisions or take the lead on a piece of work can instil the concept of collaboration in a subtle way which doesn't have to always be seen as heavy-going or serious.

    One of the subjects that I feel isn't given much airtime in the book is the fact that collaboration isn't always the solution to every leadership challenge. There are many interdependencies to take account of, such as the culture of organisations, the situational context of what kind of leadership is required and who is leading because all of these variables will determine what type of leadership needs applied given prevailing circumstances.

    An interesting slant introduced into the reckoning is that those who are successful at this type of leadership need to encourage and invite others to participate. By involving third parties, it's easier to move between the various stages of collaborative leadership, such as after acting as convenor, the leader then needs to move through roles such as organiser and facilitator to get to the end goal. It's quite revealing when the mist clears to understand it's not just about someone doing it on their own but rather it's a team effort to end up working in a collaborative environment. By divvying up the tasks, we may not all be leaders in the truest sense but we're contributing to the end goal.

    Working together, as it's labelled in some work environs, or collaboration, if you want the posh version! Is it all just in how you say it! No, as this work amply illustrates with its many examples and self-analysis options. 

  3. Ian and Michael have been great thinkers and creators of quality information for the field of NLP for many years and their latest effort is certainly something special. Collaborative leadership, for most writers, is like trying to organize smoke. Ian and Michael have managed to be systematic, carefully specific (where most have failed), and even pragmatic in this effort to help us all understand, and actually learn how to use, the wonderful and valuable systems of collaboration. I really appreciate their careful explanation that leaders must make sure that their own preconceptions and habits are fully understood and sometimes changed. So, here we have critically important skill sets, presented at the right time in our ongoing effort to help organizations and teams move toward excellence. They have professionally identified principle and skills in a way that is pragmatic enough to be incredibly useful. Right information, right time, right presenters. It doesn't get better. Get the book and find out for yourself what a sterling job these two men have done, again.
  4. In business, collaborative leadership is becoming an essential skill and principle... and yet it is often misunderstood, with frustrating results. In The Collaborative Leader, the authors give you plenty of thought-provoking questions, examples and models to help you walk the sometimes less than easy path of true collaboration.
  5. The benefits of collaboration to leaders in the private, public and voluntary sectors are beyond doubt. In this world of increasing complexity, leaders are frequently required to work across conventional boundaries to achieve their objectives. This almost inevitably requires leaders to have the capability to collaborate effectively. In this work McDermott and Hall set out to demystify the art of collaboration and provide a methodology for leaders to achieve excellence in its application. The book also addresses the negative side of failed collaborative ventures and analyses the principle causes. A must-read for aspiring leaders and everyone grappling with complex change.

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