How important is collaboration in leadership? (+12 disadvantages of top-down leadership)

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In this article, we will be discussing the importance of collaboration in leadership. So that we understand this better, we will also be explaining the disadvantages of top-down leadership and the various steps leaders can follow in order to encourage collaboration in an organization. A collaborative organization is more successful as it taps into the employees’ fullest potential.

How important is collaboration in leadership?

Collaboration is highly important in leadership as it creates many benefits for an organization. These benefits include:

  • It improves individual productivity
  • It increases employee engagement
  • Employees stay longer
  • Organizations increase their success rate
  • It promotes accountability and responsibility
  • It leads to innovation and creativity

Organizations are switching over to a collaborative approach in teams and leadership. Research has shown that employees stick to a task for a longer period of time when they are collaborating with a group. Many employees also blame lack of collaboration for an organization’s failure to achieve its goals. The benefits of collaboration in leadership are discussed in this section.

It improves individual productivity

When collaboration is practiced in leadership, it leads to an increase in individual productivity. This is because collaborative leaders show a more active role in the team processes. Compared to traditional leaders who just delegate responsibilities and give instructions, collaborative leaders are ready to get their hands dirty and take on an equal workload.

It increases employee engagement

Many teams fail as the team members are not engaging enough in the work processes. Employee engagement is affected by many factors, the most influential one being leadership. When employees do not trust their leaders, they will not actively participate. However, a collaborative leader can instill more trust in the team members, leading to higher engagement.

Employees stay longer

Collaborative leaders also lead to lesser turnover rates for the organization. When the leaders and managers of an organization practice effective collaborative methods, the employees are highly benefited. It leads to better physical as well as mental health. Since collaboration promotes the development of every individual employee, they stay in the organization for a longer period.

Organizations increase their success rate

Collaborative leadership allows an organization to become more successful in achieving its goals. This does not only relate to short term goals but also long term ones. Through collaborative leadership, teamwork is improved, leading to better productivity and efficiency. Thus the pace of work is increased while also ensuring customer satisfaction.

It promotes accountability and responsibility

Through collaboration, leaders in the organization demonstrate more accountability and responsibility in the organization. This means practicing transparency and putting in more effort while doing tasks. When leaders demonstrate accountability and responsibility, it becomes easier for employees to pick these qualities up, thus improving the atmosphere in the organization.

It leads to innovation and creativity

Organizations need to be continuously creative and innovative. This allows them to put new products and services on the market. It also helps them be adaptive to new trends and changes in the market. For this, an organization needs to encourage its own employees to be highly creative and innovative. Collaborative leadership does exactly this.

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Disadvantages of top-down leadership

While top-down or autocratic leadership is the most common type of leadership in organizations, it still has many disadvantages. Thus, companies are increasingly switching over to collaborative leadership. The disadvantages of top-down leadership are:

  • It leads to less information sharing in the organization
  • There is very less interaction between departments or functionalities
  • It can lead to a toxic environment of mistrust
  • It can make employees more task-oriented than creative
  • Employees can get easily stressed, leading to more burnouts
  • There is no proper delegation of tasks
  • The performance review system does not encourage individuality
  • Employee engagement and participation in work processes is much lesser
  • Leaders might impose their authority on employees
  • Organizations cannot adapt easily to change
  • There is lesser innovation and creativity in the organization
  • Employees are not encouraged to grow and develop themselves

How can leaders encourage collaboration in an organization?

Leaders can encourage collaboration in an organization through many strategies. They can model these behaviors in order to inspire and motivate others. They need to not only collaborate with their own team members but also closely with other leaders in the organization. In order to encourage collaboration, leaders can take the following steps:

Use your strengths

Capitalizing on your strengths and promoting them in the organization can be a good way to get other leaders to collaborate with you. This can be used not only with leaders but also your team members. When your strengths are emphasized, it encourages people to come to you with their doubts and questions, thus improving the process of collaboration in the company.

Improve your self-awareness

To encourage collaboration in the organization, you need to have high levels of self-awareness. When you are aware of your strengths, you also become aware of your weaknesses and the skill gaps you possess. This pushes to collaborate with other leaders and employees to work around your deficiencies, again promoting collaboration in the team.

Trust your team

Trust does not come overnight to a team or an organization. It requires time and effort in order to be established. However, it can also be destroyed easily. To create trust within your team, as a leader you need to demonstrate high credibility. While aiming to become more trustworthy, you also need to be trusting of your employees and give them space to do their work.

Break down silos in the organization

Silos can lead to many disadvantages for an organization. While there may be great collaboration and communication within the silo, it can lead to very less collaboration with other departments and functionalities. However, cross-functional collaboration is necessary for an organization’s success. Identifying silos and breaking down barriers is what collaborative leaders do.

Promote the shared purpose

The shared purpose of the team needs to be promoted often so that the team members are motivated to accomplish it. When the team members are actively involved in the envisioning process, they are highly persuaded and put in more effort. Team leaders need to make team members feel more related to and connected to the shared goal.

Allow teams to take risks

Team members need to be encouraged to take more risks for the organization. Risk taking behavior however, only happens when the team members trust that leaders will stand by them. When employees are encouraged to take risks, it can lead to creative products and designs, helping organizations increase their business profit.

Include the right members

While making teams, leaders should ensure they include the right people. The team should comprise individuals who have diverse skill sets and expertise. They also can be from various cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. This allows the team to explore different perspectives and have multiple takes on an issue or problem leading to better solutions.


In this article, we have discussed the importance of collaboration in leadership. We have also explained the disadvantages of top-down leadership and the various steps leaders can follow in order to encourage collaboration in an organization.

Frequently asked questions: (How important is collaboration in leadership?)

Why is collaboration important in leadership?

Collaboration increases the quality of leadership in an organization. Through collaboration, leaders in a group can share ideas with each other and work closely in order to achieve the shared goal. They can also put in their diverse experiences and expertise to solve problems.

Collaboration also allows individuals lead teams in a better manner. Through collaboration, leaders can create supportive and positive work environments that can greatly boost the morale of the team. They can also create better trust in the team, promoting their team members to take risks and face challenges. Thus, collaborative leadership brings in more accountability and responsibility.

Why is it important for community leaders to collaborate?

Collaborative leadership can greatly benefit any type of organization. It can not only help the organization achieve its goals better but also has advantages for the people working toward the goal. Community leaders need to practice collaboration if they want to create a larger impact as:

Collaboration motivates the team members

When there is a collaborative spirit in the team, all the members are motivated to achieve the goal. Thus, it increases ownership of the shared goal and promotes accountability in the task process. Collaborative leaders involve the team members in all stages of the project, from goal-setting to decision making, therefore increasing their buy-in.  

It creates mutual trust in the team

Collaborative leadership allows open communication in the team. It creates an environment of transparency and honesty in the organization. In this manner, collaboration leads to mutual trust in the team. Here, the leaders trust the team members with the achievement of goals and the team members trust the leader for their support and guidance.

Collaboration leads to more information

When collaboration is practiced effectively in the organization, there is more sharing of information and ideas between the team members. Since the team is made up of individuals with varying skill sets and expertise, it can allow team members to learn new skills from each other. This information can lead to better problem-solving and creativity.

It generates new leaders

Collaboration teaches the team members the right way to work in a group. It imparts many skills like communication skills, empathetic skills, tolerance, patience and resilience. Collaborative leaders also demonstrate the right kind of leadership skills to others. Thereby, future leaders are inspired and motivated to take up collaborative leadership as their personal approaches.

It can lead to community empowerment

Most importantly, collaborative leadership leads to community and organizational empowerment. Since not only leaders, but team members and stakeholders are keenly involved in all the steps of the project, it leads to higher levels of responsibility and ownership. It also gives team members a healthy level of autonomy, further empowering them.

Why is collaborative leadership important among today’s school leaders?

Collaborative leadership can lead to many advantages in schools, for both teachers and students. Through collaborative leadership, teachers learn more from each other and get trained in new skillsets. They can also pool in their resources together and teach students more efficiently. Thereby, collaborative leadership reduces workloads for teachers.

Through collaboration, instructors can generate new ideas and be creative in their teaching approach. New leaders equipped with the right skills are also created through collaboration. Furthermore, collaborative leadership can lead to better retention of teachers as they feel more valued and empowered in the school setting.

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