How An Expert Leader Encourages Collaboration?

Success is never possible if you can’t create a collaborative work life as a leader. How many teams have you seen destroy themselves because someone feels they are more important than another? Or have you ever felt like you are constantly battling with your peers and co-workers just to get things done?

In this weeks blog I am going to cover off some key points that can be implemented as a leader to support a better collaborative working environment.

In this article “Eight ways to build collaborative teams”, Lynda Gratton and Tamara J Erickson suggest ways to ensure that the conditions are right for teams to work together effectively.

What constitutes a collaborative working environment?

  • Leading by example
  • Create signature practices
  • Develop a sense of community
  • Create a shared space
  • Invest in individual skills
  • Break down department walls
  • Mentor others ad encourage the to do the same
  • Build on existing relationships
  • Define roles and responsibilities
  • Select strong managers
  • Share knowledge These top tips can help you

Focusing on these tips will help you towards positive collaboration in the workplace. Let’s explore them below in more detail.

Lead by example

A leader demonstrates commitment to collaboration by actively supporting it. By showing interest and being aware of projects in other areas of the business and keeping your staff up to-date with them, you can ensure your employees see the business as a whole entity and avoids succumbing to an ‘us and them’ mentality.

Creating signature practices

Having processes unique to your organisation develops a sense of organisational pride. Crucially, it also provides a point of commonality between employees. From small things like having a formal greeting when answering the telephone, to larger things like having a standard induction programme for all employees, these can ensure company uniformity which creates a sense of togetherness.

Develop a sense of community

Managers often try to create a sense of community within their individual teams. In companies with a strong sense of community, employees are often more likely to feel comfortable collaborating with other teams within the organisation.

Create a shared space

Creating an open plan space allows greater visibility amongst different areas of the organisation. This can also be useful in helping staff develop relationships outside their immediate team. If this is impossible, creating a shared space such as a canteen or break room gives employees the opportunity to interact socially, helping with collaboration.

Invest in individual skills

Sometimes, employees want to collaborate successfully but lack the necessary skills. By gearing training towards relationship-building, communication and problem-solving, employees will be more able to collaborate successfully across different areas of the organisation.

Break down department walls

Employees can become insular. Encourage them, where possible, to work in other teams/departments and find out the challenges and issues affecting those areas. This gives employees a much wider understanding of what happens across the organisation.

Mentor others and encourage them to do the same

Being a mentor is a visible way of encouraging employees to give their knowledge freely and regularly to others. This helps create a culture of sharing knowledge and support throughout the organisation.

Build on existing relationships

When large, complex teams are created for projects, it can often take time to develop trust and strong lines of communication. Bringing on board employees with existing relationships can help to speed up that process. These employees can act as icebreakers for the rest of the group.

Define roles and responsibilities

Groups collaborate more effectively when they know exactly what their individual roles are. They are also more likely to share ideas and work creatively if they are aware of the goals of the team, along with a degree of freedom on how to achieve that goal.

Ensure your team members are briefed, understand exactly what their role is and which responsibilities they have assumed. This will prevent confusion and help avoid potential for conflict among employees.

Select strong team leaders

Teams which are placed together to collaborate quickly benefit from leaders who can manage both tasks and relationships. As the task for a collaborative team will often be complex, it is important that the team leader demonstrates that they have the knowledge and skills to help the team complete them.

It is also important for team leaders to help facilitate relationship-building and have an awareness of the importance of knowledge-sharing.

Share knowledge

It is important for a manger to demonstrate this quality. By sharing knowledge on other aspects of the work – such as changing external factors or executive wishes – a manager can help foster the spirit of communication within the group as a whole.

This will most definitely help cement a sense of community amongst the group which can lead to a subsequent growth in trust. These factors will help the group be more collaboratively-minded.

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Hi! I`m Chris Webb, I live in the South East and started Leaders Retail Consultancy in 2019. Before freelancing, I was a senior retail leader for a number of the UK’s top retailers gaining experience over 23 glorious years. When I am not coaching I enjoy spending time with the family or in the gym.

Click here for more information about Leaders Retail Consultancy

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