Collaborative Leaders: A Must For Collaboration At Work

Collaborative Leaders are essential to create and sustain an environment where employees work in flexible, dynamic teams. Under the leaders guidance and support, collaborative team members respectfully share information, decision-making, responsibility, learning and recognition.Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 7.58.16 AM

And while collaboration thrives in a flat environment, it still requires strong leaders. Collaborative Leaders guide highly effective team members to jointly reflect on their work habits and best practices in order to refine their approaches and abilities. Leadership creates and maintains the fundamental requirements for effective team collaboration.

5 Fundamental Requirements For Effective Collaboration:

Apart from getting out of the way of creativity and decision-making, one of the key roles of a Collaborative Leader is to make sure everyone understands the organizations values, strategy, key messages and goals for the project. Clarity in these areas will give team members confidence and a sense of direction.

The following identifies 5 fundamental requirements Collaborative Leaders must support:

  1. Collaboration must be supported and demonstrated by upper management.
  2. Collaborative Leaders share:
    • Company vision
    • Their role
    • The role of team members
  3. Team Members must have equal voice… and equal opportunity to ask questions.
  4. Team Members must share:
    • Project Goals
    • Time Commitment
    • Resources
    • Respect
    • Research / Analysis
    • Commitment to decisions made
    • Responsibility
    • Assessment
    • A passion for learning
    • A dedication for continuous improvement for all
    • Success / Outcome
  5. All discussions must be documented and shared.

More On The Role Of A Collaborative Leader

Every collaborative team requires a Collaborative Leader.

The role of the Collaborative Leader is one of monitoring, guidance and mentoring. A Collaborative Leader offers discipline; keeping the team on task – encouraging and maximizing the value of each other’s abilities and learning potential. If the team gets stuck, it’s the Collaborative Leaders’ responsibility to find creative ways to encourage fresh ideas and renew momentum.

Collaborative Leaders keep the team talking and moving forward – influencing their behavior not controlling their behavior. Leaders also share big-picture knowledge and acquire senior approvals.

Hiring / Assembling A Collaborative Team

Collaborative Leaders work together to create diverse teams, adding talent with diverse backgrounds and from multiple departments until the goals are met – at which point the team will be formally disbanded.

Team members are selected based on collaboration history, (identified during a BEI). People who strive for political gain or reward are destructive to a collaborative environment.

Not all employees will be comfortable with collaborative environments – especially the focus on individual and team learning, contribution, recognition and reward. That’s OK… Collaborative Leaders must have the confidence to pass on including an industry expert if that expert would not support a collaborative team.

Those same leaders will be reassured that the firm will continue heading in the planned – positive direction.  Collaboration is a long-term investment.

Decision Making

Normally a collaborative team will make its own decisions on how to move forward. Employees / team members debate and share until the best combination of ideas are approved. If the team cannot come to agreement and the current objectives are at risk, it becomes the leaders duty to make a decision… although it should rarely come to that.

Whether the team makes the decision or the leader, once a decision is made every member of the team understands that the decision is to be 100% supported by the team and to move on.


A study by a leading HR consulting agency has identified five employment factors that increased employee commitment and employee retention… which translates into higher productivity and lower cost (including turnover related costs). All of these five employment factors are natural extensions of collaborative work environments.

  1. Confidence in the organization and its leadership
  2. Room for growth
  3. A fair exchange (employee effort for compensation including financial reward, experience, knowledge)
  4. An environment for success
  5. Authority and influence

Happy collaboration and communication. 

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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