What Is Collaborative Work Leadership?
Collaborative work leadership is a strategy that prioritizes hearing from diverse voices before making key decisions. It requires building empowered teams, giving employees room to contribute their perspectives and experiences, and designing an open and cooperative work environment.
Collaborative work leadership is an alternative to the traditional hierarchical leadership style. It replaces top-down management and encourages lateral collaboration and shared responsibility across the organization.
Why is collaborative work leadership important?
Collaboration teamwork and leadership significantly benefit organizations, especially today's technologically-driven companies with customers from countries worldwide.
When employees are encouraged to share their opinions and experiences, they make the organization more relatable to customers, as they bring feedback straight from their networks to the development teams. Collaborative work leadership creates the environment to tap into diverse and rich cultural experiences that help build innovative ideas and products.
Collaborative work leadership also boosts employee engagement. Employees know their contributions are useful and valued, making them more engaged and invested in seeing the company succeed.
Collaborative work leadership characteristics
Characteristics of collaborative work leadership include:
- Communication: Leadership must maintain communication with employees: sharing business goals and priorities, listening for feedback, paying attention to each person's input, and documenting plans to align, execute, and exceed the goals. Avoid silos and encourage teams to share resources and collaborate as needed.
- Follow-up: When the leadership pays attention, compiles team members' contributions, and takes action based on the diverse inputs, the organization is in a stronger place to succeed. Employees trust leadership to do what they agree on, building a healthy work environment.
- Collaboration: Collaboration teamwork and leadership creates a psychologically safe environment for employees to produce their best work. Teams can proactively share updates requiring actions from other collaborators and get the support they need to get work done.
Strategies for implementing collaborative work leadership
Take these steps to implement collaborative leadership successfully:
- Plan and set goals: Leadership must set clear goals to direct employees and create an environment for them to find their purpose within the organization's larger picture. No matter what teams employees are on, they work better when they understand how their job impacts and contributes to the main business goals.
- Enable access to information: After setting goals, communicate with employees and bring them up to speed on guidelines relevant to their roles. Encourage supportive collaboration between teams and establish a document or file management system to access information easily.
- Learn from mistakes: Collaborative leadership emphasizes responsibility across the organization. This makes it everyone's job to learn from failure and become better. When things go wrong, leadership can start a conversation about what happened and what to learn for future projects.
- Encourage speaking up: Ensure everyone has a chance to contribute. Encourage shy voices to speak and highlight the best ideas, not the loudest.