Collaboration: Part 2—Showing the Way
Last month I defined collaboration as “working with others toward a common
goal” and said leaders are ineffective if they fail to get their followers to
collaborate or pull together, much as a sports team does. Here are three more
things a leader can do to promote collaboration.
Create a Climate of Collaboration.
collaborative climate requires trust which depends upon (1) total
honesty, integrity and truthfulness, (2) consistency or predictability
of behavior and (3) respect, where everyone is treated with dignity and
fairness. The leader bears responsibility for creating this climate
where team members work well together. To create such a climate,
leaders must collaborate with their followers. Even when the leader
must act alone, as is sometimes the case, successful leaders involve
subordinates as much as possible and communicate to them that they value
Example for Collaboration. Team
members will observe how their leaders interact with peers. If leaders
collaborate with peers, followers will likely do the same; if leaders
don’t, then followers will likely follow suit. Never underestimate the
power of example. The great American Poet, Edgar Guest, wrote: “I’d
rather see a sermon than hear one any day . . . the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true, but I . . . get my lessons by observing what
Stress the importance of Diversity in Collaboration.
Communicate the importance of valuing diverse people, personalities, and
ideas—not just because it is the right thing to do, but because this
action yields better results. A homogenous group yields homogeneous
solutions that have not been subjected to diverse viewpoints—decisions
and solutions that are often less rigorous and unable to withstand the
pressures and stresses of real world application. Preach diversity by
both your actions and words.
Groups will not be successful if they don’t collaborate—and the leader
must show the way.