Purposeful Cooperative Leadership in Competitive Intelligence

Cooperative Leadership

I was led to the Purposeful Leaderships’ blog, “Leading from the Heart” by Janna Rust earlier this week. Leading from the heart is a trait of cooperative intelligence, namely cooperative leadership as it rings of caring and authenticity.  Janna also discusses taking care of your reporting people by being there for them and listening. Another great point is to “be protective” of your reporting people and let them know you’re all on the same team.

So many things I read about leadership focus on “managing up”, that is impress your bosses. This often comes at the expense of managing your subordinates, who are doing the work! Yet it’s a delicate balance since your boss decides on your pay raise, can open a lot of doors, and often controls or influences budget moneys allocated to your projects. Whether with bosses, peers or subordinates, cooperative leadership is more about “them” and less about me.

In competitive intelligence and research, many of us don’t have any reporting people and report into another functional area of the company such as Sales, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Product Development or Research & Development. Often enough, they aren’t quite sure what to do with us.

Cooperative and purposeful leadership skills are all the more essential when you rely on other people to give you great information or intelligence who don’t report to you, and your boss perhaps views you as an outlier since competitive intelligence doesn’t quite fit into anyone’s area.

I spent a lot of time meeting with people and listening to their business problems as a competitive intelligence manager. I was really attuned to emotional intelligence as I dealt with my network of contacts and internal company customers and was sensitive to how they were motivated. I would attempt to match my communication style with theirs, including my body language. This was how I behaved whether dealing with peers, subordinates, my internal clients, my sources or my superiors.

I was protective of my sources, especially Sales. Everyone in marketing wanted Sales’ input into their projects. Over time I became the “unofficial” marketing liaison person to Sales. This almost eliminated the number of requests that went to Sales for quick turnaround corporate projects. I made it my business to have more interaction with Sales, and to let them know I reduced their work load, and appreciated that their time should be spent selling. This was the most purposeful leadership I had while at Verizon. I knew I needed to be cooperative in order to gain sales intelligence and customer’s input to be successful in competitive intelligence.

In what ways are you purposeful and cooperative in your leadership and management?

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for the link to my blog and article. I like your terms “corporate intelligence” and cooperative leadership. We just need to be intelligent in all of our dealings with people: upward, downward, side-to-side, emotional, etc.

    Leadership is all about serving people. When we keep that foremost in our minds and combine that with some good technical skills and tools (leading meetings, creating marketing plans, etc.), the rest falls into place.

    Leadership is my passion. I could write about how I’m intentional and purposeful with it all day, but I’ll spare you the novel. 🙂

    Keep up the good writing.

    Janna Rust

  2. Nice artilce…..

    My two cents is that today the need to be “purposeful and cooperative in your leadership and management” extends beyond one’s own company (and I’m guessing 93% likely that you agree).

  3. Janna…I really appreciated your notion of purposeful leadership and agree so much of leadership is serving.

    Alan…I find that cooperative and purposeful leadership have been so valuable in my personal life as well. It’s interesting when I first thought about cooperative intelligence 6 years ago I applied it strictly to business, but since I lost my Dad, I acknowledged how it is a fabric of my personal life, which has been so influenced by his warmth, generosity and enthusiasm for life.

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