How do you collaborate as a leader? (+4 characteristics of collaborative leaders)

This article will help you understand how you can collaborate as a leader. We shall be explaining what collaborative leadership is and the various trends affecting it. In addition, we will be discussing the various characteristics of a collaborative leader in the workplace. With the rise of collaboration in the workplace, collaborative leadership is also becoming an important factor.

How do you collaborate as a leader?

In an organization, leaders can collaborate through the following ways:

  • Establishing a clear vision
  • Demonstrating collaboration everyday
  • Creating a supportive environment
  • Educating oneself
  • Encouraging open communication
  • Making information easily available
  • Getting to know team members

Collaboration is becoming a critical necessity for organizations. Employees are also emphasizing collaborative cultures in an organization. A great way to encourage collaboration is to have collaborative leadership. Collaborative leadership can be developed by implementing the ways discussed below:

Establishing a clear vision

When leaders are well aware of the long-term vision they aim to achieve, they lead the team members more effectively. The vision does not only relate to the business or project goals but also specifically collaborative goals. Team leaders need to make this vision a shared one so that every team member actively participates in the collaboration process.

Demonstrating collaboration everyday

Leaders need to be the biggest advocates of collaboration in the workplace every day. Demonstrating collaboration from task to task can inspire and motivate team members to do the same. Practicing collaboration also means being effective in your communication, being honest and forthright and also keeping your promises.

Creating a supportive environment

If the team members understand what collaboration entails and are ready to participate but do not have the right environment for it, then the collaboration will be ineffective. It is up to the team leaders and the management to create a positive environment for collaboration by focusing more on the team identities and rewarding good collaborative practices.

Educating oneself

Many organizations have leadership programs in order to groom their future managers. This is a great way to groom one’s collaborative skills. Team leaders can also use other resources like self-help books, training workshops and seminars in order to develop better collaborative skills. Many are also turning to therapy and counseling to help them becoming greater leaders.

Encouraging open communication

Open communication is essential for collaboration. When there is open communication, there is more honesty and transparency in the organization. It also allows more feedback and new ideas to flow. Team leaders need to create an environment which encourages team members to open up and voice out their opinions about all matters.

Making information easily available

Creating easy access to information encourages collaboration in the organization. With the right information easily available, employees can work faster and more efficiently. It also creates a flatter organizational structure and keeps everyone on the same page. This not only improves collaboration, but enriches the organizational culture as a whole.

Getting to know team members

Nothing can beat a solid one-on-one interaction with a fellow team member. Employees want to feel heard and appreciated, not only in a group setting, but also an individual one. Creating time to have small talk with team members can be a great boost to the collaborative spirit. It can also create opportunities for feedback as well as idea generation.

What is collaborative leadership?

Collaborative leadership is a management approach in which leaders and managers demonstrate collaborative practices in order to accomplish shared goals. This differs from traditional leadership in the fact that collaborative leaders work actively with the team members in order to complete the project. They are not there to only supervise or oversee the work process.

Through collaborative leadership, there is open communication in the organization which means knowledge and information is shared easily. It also allows cross-functional collaboration, leading to better problem-solving and learning. The employees are given opportunities to voice their opinions and also give critical feedback. Thus, it leads to a better culture in the workplace.

Trends affecting collaborative leadership

Since collaborative leadership brings many benefits like greater communication, more transparency, scientific decision-making using data and a flatter organizational structure, more leaders are embracing this approach. Some of the trends that are affecting collaborative leadership are:

Data being used for decision-making

With scientific data being increasingly used to make decisions in organizations, collaborative leadership has also found more importance. This kind of leadership allows teams to make critical decisions and take calculated risks. With data analysis becoming more common in the workplace, a collaborative leader will encourage analytical and critical thinking.

Individualities being encouraged

Workplaces these days are embracing and encouraging individualities among employees. It is not only about personal working styles but also in leadership styles. Business organizations are realizing that encouraging individuality can only profit them more due to the increased generation of ideas and creation of new products and services.

Digital collaboration tools in the workplace

Digital collaboration tools are becoming more popular in organizations, especially in the post-covid era. Digital collaboration allows teams from different geographical locations to communicate and interact with each other. To ensure the effectiveness of these tools, collaborative leadership is required in the workplace.

Characteristics of a collaborative leader

Collaborative leaders share many characteristics in common. These traits allow them to interact better with team members and help them maneuver tricky situations. A few of the characteristics of collaborative leaders are discussed below:

They are great advocates of collaboration

Collaborative leaders are themselves strong advocates of collaboration in the workplace. These leaders demonstrate collaborative practices in their daily work lives, thereby inspiring others to do the same. When leaders diligently practice collaboration, they make this a part of the organizational culture and thus it becomes a part of the organizational vision and values.

They participate actively in the team

Collaborative leaders do not just oversee or supervise tasks and projects. They are ready to get their hands dirty and work alongside the team members. This strengthens the bond between the team and the leader and thus promotes more transparency and honesty. It also creates an environment of trust with importance given to hard work rather than status or position.

They clarify roles and responsibilities

When team members are not clear about their roles and responsibilities, they will not achieve the goals effectively. It might also lead to misunderstandings and conflicts in the team. In order to avoid this, collaborative leaders ensure that all the team members are clear about their roles and assigned tasks. They also welcome questions and feedback, leading to a smoother work rhythm.

They make communities out of teams

Collaborative leaders aim to build thriving communities in organizations. When organizations are made up of communities, employees feel more supported and more valued. They also learn more from each other and are interdependent. This strengthens team cohesion and improves the organizational culture as a result.


This article has discussed how you can collaborate as a leader. We have also explained what collaborative leadership is and the various trends affecting it. In addition, we have listed out the various characteristics of a collaborative leader in the workplace.

Frequently asked questions: (How do you collaborate as a leader?)

Why is collaborative leadership important?

Collaborative leadership is more important now than ever. Through this approach, organizations can face new trends and challenges and also churn out more business profit. Since innovation and creativity is an essentiality these days, management approaches like collaborative leadership are being enforced in organizations increasingly.

Collaborative leadership allows team members to be more creative while bringing those ideas to life through new products and services. It also promotes a sense of belongingness among employees, thus ensuring their long-term commitment to the organization. Since it brings out better versions of employees and the organization, collaborative leadership is greatly important.

What do you mean by collaboration?

Collaboration happens when team members work closely with each other in order to achieve a shared goal. Collaboration is highly used and encouraged in business organizations as it leads to happier employees and increased profits. Collaboration has many factors involved, such as:

  • Higher levels of motivation in employees encouraging them to do more
  • Better time management in teams promoting on-time completions of projects
  • More employee participation guaranteeing better ownership and accountability
  • Deeper commitment to the project and the goal as the team members find it meaningful and relatable
  • Improved problem-solving for not only current issues but also those in the pipeline
  • Stronger teamwork between the members allowing better conflict resolution and negotiation

What qualities are most important in effective collaboration?

When there is effective collaboration, there is more work productivity and a smoother workflow. Effective collaboration also leads to higher employee engagement and participation. The qualities that are most important for effective collaboration are:

Transparent communication

Communication is the most important key for effective collaboration. When there is open and honest communication between the team members, it promotes honesty and trustworthiness. Thus, effective communication leads to stronger team cohesion. Employees highly appreciate it when an organizational culture encourages open communication between different levels.

High levels of confidence

The team members need to have great confidence in themselves in order to collaborate closely for a project. There needs to be confidence in the team leader and the management as well that they will lead the team through hard times and not go back on their words. When team members are highly confident, they show increased motivation to accomplish the goals.

Solid goal orientation

The team needs to be well oriented about the goals they need to achieve. When the shared goal becomes a strong vision for the team, the employees show more ownership of it. This happens only when the goal itself is highly meaningful and relatable to the team members. Team leaders should not only create clear shared goals but also individual ones.


Effective collaboration requires open-mindedness from the team leader and the members of the group. When there is a culture of open-mindedness practiced in the organization, there is more voicing out of opinions and suggestions. This can help organizations improve themselves in their protocols and also turn out new products and inventions.

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