Collaborative Leading for Managers

Collaborative Leading: How to Lead a Successful Swim Program with Your Team

Collaborative leading is a leadership style that fosters teamwork, trust, and empowerment among co-workers. It is especially useful for managing a swim program, where you have to coordinate with different staff members, instructors, lifeguards, and participants. In this post, we will explore what collaborative leading is, why it is beneficial for a swim program, and how you can implement it in your own leadership practice.

What is Collaborative Leading?

Collaborative leading is a management practice in which members of a leadership team work together across sectors to make decisions and keep their organization thriving. Collaborative leaders share information, seek input, delegate tasks, and motivate their co-workers to contribute to their maximum potential. Collaborative leaders also respect and include diverse perspectives, maintain a strategic focus, and patiently navigate the complexities of organizational dynamics.

Collaborative leading is different from traditional leadership styles, where the leader is seen as an isolated director who gives orders and expects obedience. Collaborative leading is more about facilitating than dictating, more about listening than telling, and more about empowering than controlling.

Why is Collaborative Leading Beneficial for a Swim Program?

A swim program is a complex and dynamic system that involves many moving parts and stakeholders. It requires constant communication, coordination, and adaptation to ensure quality, safety, and customer satisfaction. Collaborative leading can help a swim program achieve these goals by:

  • Improving efficiency and productivity: Collaborative leading can streamline the workflow and reduce duplication of efforts by clarifying roles and responsibilities, setting clear expectations, and providing feedback and support. Collaborative leading can also foster innovation and creativity by encouraging co-workers to share ideas and suggestions, and by creating a culture of learning and experimentation.
  • Enhancing trust and morale: Collaborative leading can build trust and morale among co-workers by showing respect, appreciation, and recognition, and by creating a sense of belonging and purpose. Collaborative leading can also reduce conflict and stress by facilitating constructive dialogue, resolving issues, and promoting harmony and cooperation.
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty: Collaborative leading can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by delivering high-quality services and products, and by exceeding customer expectations. Collaborative leading can also create a positive and welcoming environment for customers by modeling and teaching respectful language, friendly behavior, and professional etiquette.

How to Implement Collaborative Leading in Your Swim Program?

Here are some tips and examples for implementing a collaborative leadership style in your swim program:

  • Communicate openly and frequently: Communicate with your co-workers regularly and transparently, using multiple channels and formats. Share relevant information, updates, and feedback, and invite questions and comments. For example, you can send weekly newsletters, hold monthly meetings, and create online forums or chat groups for your swim program staff.
    • We use GroupMe, SharePoint, SwimLessons PRO, and other tools to stay in contact.
  • Seek input and feedback: Seek input and feedback from your co-workers on various aspects of your swim program, such as goals, plans, policies, procedures, and performance. Listen actively and respectfully, and acknowledge and incorporate their ideas and suggestions. For example, you can conduct surveys, polls, or focus groups, or use tools like SwimSheets or Choice Grid to gather and analyze data from your swim program participants and staff.
  • Delegate tasks and empower co-workers: Delegate tasks and empower co-workers to take ownership and responsibility for their assigned roles and duties. Provide them with the necessary resources, guidance, and support, but also allow them some autonomy and flexibility. For example, you can assign different staff members to lead different aspects of your swim program, such as lesson plans, training, scheduling, or marketing, and let them make decisions and solve problems within their scope of authority.
  • Motivate and recognize co-workers: Motivate and recognize co-workers for their efforts and achievements, and celebrate their successes. Provide them with positive reinforcement and incentives, and show them how their work contributes to the overall vision and mission of your swim program. For example, you can give verbal or written praise, awards, or bonuses, or organize fun and social events for your swim program staff.
  • Model and teach collaborative behavior: Model and teach collaborative behavior to your co-workers and customers, and create a culture of collaboration in your swim program. Demonstrate and promote values such as respect, trust, cooperation, and diversity, and encourage and facilitate teamwork and learning. For example, you can use games and activities from Swimming Games and Challenges to foster collaboration and fun among your swim program staff and participants.

Collaborative leading is a powerful and effective way to lead a successful swim program with your team. By implementing collaborative leading in your own leadership practice, you can improve your swim program’s efficiency, productivity, quality, safety, and customer satisfaction, and create a positive and rewarding work environment for yourself and your co-workers.

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Collaborative Leading is a management practice that involves working with employees at every level to complete projects and meet goals. It is based on trust, motivation, delegation, communication, transparency, and conflict management. Collaborative Leading can be applied to various contexts, including the role of a Lesson Coordinator at Swimming Ideas.

A Lesson Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the swimming instructors, ensuring the quality of the lessons, and communicating with the parents and the management. To be a successful Lesson Coordinator, one needs to adopt a collaborative leadership style that fosters a positive and productive work environment. Some examples of how Collaborative Leading can be used in this role are:

  • Trust: A Lesson Coordinator should trust the instructors to do their job well and give them autonomy and feedback. They should also trust the parents to provide honest and constructive feedback and address any concerns they have.
  • Motivation: A Lesson Coordinator should motivate the instructors to improve their skills and performance by providing recognition, incentives, and opportunities for growth. They should also motivate the parents to enroll their children in the lessons by highlighting the benefits and outcomes of the program.
  • Delegation: A Lesson Coordinator should delegate tasks to the instructors based on their strengths and interests. They should also delegate some responsibilities to the parents, such as bringing the necessary equipment, following the safety rules, and supporting their children’s learning.
  • Communication: A Lesson Coordinator should communicate clearly and frequently with the instructors, the parents, and the management. They should provide updates, instructions, feedback, and suggestions in a timely and respectful manner. They should also listen to the input and ideas from all parties and encourage open dialogue.
  • Transparency: A Lesson Coordinator should share information with the instructors, the parents, and the management about the goals, expectations, and progress of the lessons. They should also share any challenges, issues, or changes that may affect the program and seek solutions together.
  • Conflict management: A Lesson Coordinator should handle any conflicts that may arise among the instructors, the parents, or the management in a constructive and respectful way. They should facilitate a healthy discussion that focuses on the problem, not the person, and seek a win-win outcome.

By using Collaborative Leading, a Lesson Coordinator can create a positive and productive work environment that benefits the instructors, the parents, the children, and the organization. Collaborative Leading can help a Lesson Coordinator achieve the ultimate goal of providing high-quality and enjoyable swimming lessons.

We include these principles in our guidance to Aquatic Professionals and swim instructors. Join us today!


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