Eight Ways Leaders Foster Collaboration

In today's volatile business environment, collaboration is more important than ever. A company's survival often depends on how well it can combine the potential of its people with their ability and willingness to share what they know with colleagues.

Carol Kinsey Goman, an international keynote speaker who focuses on leadership topics, says there are some key ways leaders can promote organization-wide collaboration. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Goman's seven strategies to foster effective collaboration between colleagues and departments.

1. Reward collaboration. As organizations move to collaborative cultures, leaders are changing the reward system and making collaborative performance part of the employee review process. Goman recommends implementing recognition, bonuses and promotions to those who work effectively across organizational boundaries.

2. Communicate transparently. How information is handled determines whether it impedes or enables collaboration. Goman asserts that company-wide transparent communication is a vitally important tool in disrupting silo mentality and fostering collaboration.

3. Encourage networks. Employees with multiple networks throughout the organization bring added value and facilitate collaboration. Leaders accelerate the flow of knowledge and information across boundaries by encouraging workplace relationships and ensuring that all offsite retreats or workplace events include socializing opportunities.

4. Create alignment around unifying goals. For an organization to be successful, the entire team must focus on common goals. Goman urges leaders to understand and communicate the overarching goals of the total organization and highlight the importance of working together.

5. Increase innovation through diversity. Creativity thrives on a combination of ideas from people with different backgrounds, thinking styles and expertise. When an organization focuses on collaborative innovation, leaders create cross-functional teams to capture diverse and meaningful perspectives.

6. Focus on the customer. Customers want a seamless, personalized experience. Leaders must note that seamless, customer-centric service takes collaboration.

7. Build relationships of trust. Collaborative relationships thrive in an environment of personal trust. Trust is the belief or confidence that one party has in the reliability, integrity and honesty of another party. Trust holds together any group and remains the foundation of true collaboration.

8. Redefine their role as a leader. Goman says that in this networked world, we need collaborative leaders. In contrast to control-minded leaders of the past, today's most effective leaders are exercising a different kind of power—getting results through positive influence rather than by position. This new style of leadership blends personal and interpersonal skills that form the basis of a leader's ability to impact, include and inspire others.

How well does your team collaborate? How about your organization as a whole? Collaboration is no longer a desired organizational philosophy; it has transformed into a must-have business strategy. Leaders can use the tips above to pave the way for a thriving collaborative environment.

Source: Carol Kinsey Goman is an international keynote speaker who helps leaders enhance their influence and impact skills. She's the author of The Silent Language of Leaders and the creator of "Body Language for Leaders," LinkedIn Learning's most popular video course for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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