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Strong Leaders Collaborate With Confidence

November 15, 2015

With significant shifts in the workplace, as well as in the nature of leadership, the future of business is becoming collaborative. Organizations, employees, and even customers—increasingly interlinked and interactive—will partner through shared resources, structures, relationships, and accountability to drive common goals forward.

Astute leaders can foster a creative and cohesive collaborative work environment that leads to success by taking proactive steps:

Develop a system that helps to inspire collaboration. While collaboration can accelerate innovative R&D, it won’t do so without systems for aggregating and curating ideas and data—and keeping brainstorms on track.

Embrace the new coaching style of leadership by developing SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) innovation goals and setting priorities together, establishing automated calendar reminders, regularly discussing progress, and reviewing how their creativity is directly linked to company success. Employees innovate more practically and directly against company goals when they’re reminded of them.

Consider shifting your management structure to one built upon lateral relationships, which are generally more personable and transparent than hierarchical systems. Collaborative processes are likely to occur at much faster speeds than what your company is comfortable with. Dealing with smaller integrative teams necessitates leaders who will keep a tight pulse on what’s working and what’s not—and who can immediately jump in and shift the direction of a project if need be.

Interact with and become intimately aware of how innovation teams are functioning so that you can recognize individual contributions, not just the larger group’s role in a collaborative effort. Because team members need to see their contributions apply to both short- and long-term goals, it’s always good to connect the dots between individual accomplishments and their larger impact on the company. By doing so, it will also challenge and inspire other employees to innovate and collaborate.