Is collaboration a leadership skill? (+7 strategies)

This article will answer if collaboration is a leadership skill. We will also be explaining what collaborative leadership is and the characteristics of a collaborative leader. Lastly, we shall also be discussing various strategies collaborative leaders can use for their teams. With organizations changing, leadership styles are also changing with more emphasis on people management.

Is collaboration a leadership skill?

Yes, collaboration is a leadership skill. In fact, it is one of the most important leadership skills. When collaboration is used in leadership, it can change organizational cultures and climates for the better. Information is shared more efficiently and team members work responsibly in order to accomplish the shared goal.

What is collaborative leadership?

Collaborative leadership is a management approach where the leaders of an organization work together to manage teams. This style of leadership is becoming increasingly common in organizations today as cross-functional collaboration is making strides in the workplace. The various features of this leadership style are:

Open communication between employees

When there are collaborative leaders in the workplace, communication is open between the various employees of the organization. Since there is open communication between all the employees, there are more suggestions and opinions given. There are also lesser misunderstandings, hence leading to fewer conflicts in the workplace.

Strong team cohesion

Collaborative leadership can lead to strong team bonds between the workers. Through this style, the leaders can build strong teams despite diverse opinions and ideas. Since collaboration encourages employees to support and help one another, this leadership only further encourages this healthy climate in the organization.

Sharing of ideas

Sharing of ideas and opinions is important for an organization’s growth. It also helps the company solve problems quicker and more efficiently. With collaborative leadership, ideas and feedback are not only encouraged but are solidly acted upon. Employees with similar ideas can be connected and further motivated. This helps the organization grow organically.

Strategies for collaborative leadership

To implement collaborative practices in their organizations, leaders can follow the following strategies:

Improve communication between levels

While many organizations may boast of great communication and collaboration in their teams, this cannot always be amidst levels. However, for an organization to be increasingly successful, it needs to have inter-level collaboration as well as cross-functional collaboration.

Collaborative leaders need to improve this communication by demonstrating this by themselves and also encouraging others to interact. Enlightening those in managerial positions about the benefits of this kind of interaction can also be helpful for communication and coordination between departments and hierarchical levels.

Create a supportive environment for employees

While employees need to be skilled and self-reliant in order to work in an organization, they still need support in order to accomplish their goals. This is particularly necessary when the employees are expected to go the extra mile or do something additional for the organization. Collaborative leadership can encourage employees by ensuring they receive help and support.

Follow up on your words

For a team to be effective in accomplishing its goals, the members need to have mutual trust and respect for one another. Trust is also an essential factor between leaders and team members. However, nothing can break trust more than backing down on promises. For a leader to demonstrate effective collaboration, they should always follow through on their promises.

Develop your own leadership skills

Even though any employee can become a leader, not everyone can have the right leadership skills. There is always room for betterment and development. In order to be a collaborative leader, individuals need to be highly aware of their weaknesses and work towards strengthening them. These skills can be polished by training programs, self-help books, therapy, etc.

Give opportunities for everyone

Collaborative leaders give opportunities for everyone to give their suggestions and ideas. They would look past the seniority levels as well as the amount of experience a person carries. To be a great collaborative leader, an individual needs to gather as many ideas as they can from the people around them. Every employee can be a valuable asset under the right leadership.

Set a clear purpose for all the team members to follow

When there is a compelling purpose in the team, all the members are motivated to follow it. Teams which don’t have a clear goal will have members who are confused and don’t put in enough effort. Collaborative leaders need to clearly show the team members what their work will achieve and how it will impact their communities. This can lead to better work productivity.

Encouraging partnerships between teams

Partnerships are required in teams as they motivate team members and guide their work process. Employees see partnerships more like informal contracts, which will give them more ownership in the project they are working on. Collaborative leaders need to build partnerships between team members and also teach them the right skills for it.

Budget your collaboration time

Collaboration and collaborative practices can take a lot of time and effort. Precious time can be wasted trying to implement collaborative strategies. When the collaboration itself is seen as exhaustive and straining, employees will not participate in the process. Collaborative leaders need to use their time efficiently in order to foster a harmonious environment.


This article has explained if collaboration is a leadership skill. We have also explained what collaborative leadership is and the characteristics of a collaborative leader. Lastly, we have also discussed various strategies collaborative leaders can use for their teams.

Frequently asked questions: (Is collaboration a leadership skill?)

Why is collaborative leadership good?

Collaborative leadership has many benefits for an organization. It brings people together and values their ideas and suggestions. This is the reason why collaborative leadership is emphasized and encouraged in organizations. A few reasons why collaborative leadership is becoming so popular are explained in this section:

The whole team shares the same purpose

When the team members share a vision, it leads to better bonding between them. It also promotes work efficiency and workflow in the right direction. When the goal is meaningful and relatable to all the team members, they work with better accountability and ownership, knowing they are working for a larger cause.

There is a smoother workflow

Collaborative leadership can lead to better work efficiency in the organization. Through this leadership style, tasks can be assigned appropriately keeping in mind the individual characteristics and capabilities of the team members. As there is better communication in the team, progress is tracked better and project management becomes more efficient.

It leads to higher employee engagement

There is also higher employee engagement when there is collaborative leadership in the organization. Employees are engaged not only in current tasks but also motivated to find newer projects and goals for themselves. In this manner, there is less wastage of company time and everyone shares the workload to get the tasks done.

Employees are more loyal to the organization

Collaborative leadership can also lead to better employee retention. Since employees are happier and find a better purpose, they remain loyal to the organization. Many research studies have proven that collaborative practices lead to healthier employees. This further encourages employees to stay in the organization.

Team members feel trusted

This leadership does not encourage micromanagement of team members. There is an environment of trust and respect between all the team members. The leader also trusts the employees that they will accomplish their goals on time. This feeling of trust helps employees feel valued and appreciated in the company.

More collaborative leaders are created

Through the practice of collaborative leadership, more leaders are created who will follow this style. When employees see firsthand the benefits of collaborative leadership, they are more likely to want to follow it themselves. Thus, practicing collaborative leadership leads to better leaders, strengthening the future of the organization.

How effective is collaboration for learning?

Collaboration can help students learn concepts better only when it is implemented in a structured manner. Collaboration is becoming increasingly used in classrooms as it promotes active learning and better sharing of ideas. Thus, it improves student participation as well as teaches social values. Thus, we can say that collaboration is extremely effective for learning.

How can I collaborate more effectively?

Since collaboration is essential for any organization to run successively, learning to implement collaboration effectively is an important need for any individual. You can collaborate more effectively using the strategies explained below:

Prepare for the process of collaboration

Collaboration requires a lot of effort if it needs to be effective. If collaboration practices are not implemented in an organized manner, team members can lose their interest in it and reduce their levels of participation. Prior to starting the process, the team leader needs to properly prepare by choosing the team members, identifying the stakeholders and outlining the program.

Set clear goals for the team

The team requires a clear purpose or goal in order to work effectively. Without the goal, the team members will feel aimless and might not complete their tasks. While explaining the goal to the team, the leader needs to ensure proper understanding of the impact the project can have. They also need to assign roles appropriately as well as the outcomes expected.

Encourage open communication and active listening

Without communication, there cannot be collaboration. For a team to collaborate effectively there needs to be open and transparent communication between the members. The members need to be trained to skillfully communicate through all mediums including verbal, non-verbal as well as written communication.

Listen and interact with your team members

If they do not know the team members on a personal and intimate level, team leaders might miss out on many gold mines. Since every team member has a great asset to deliver, it is up to the team leader to find their unique strengths out. This can be accomplished by interacting with them one-on-one. This can also lead to useful feedback and suggestions.

Learn and grow together

When teams learn together, they stay together. Learning is also greatly essential for an organization to improve its business profits and also keep up with new emerging trends. When team members learn a certain concept or skill together, they show more enthusiasm while also retaining more information.

What are the advantages of collaboration?

Collaboration in an organization can lead to smoother workflows and better productivity. When collaborative practices are followed in an organization, it leads to better innovation and creativity as well as communication between team members. It also helps the organization work as a single unit in order to achieve the long-term goal.

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