When you think of the term “leadership,” you might immediately think of one person at the head of a pack, barking orders and directing others. But there are many different types of leadership, and collaborative leadership is one of the most effective.

Collaborative leaders work with their team to achieve a common goal, rather than dictating what that goal should be.

What Does Collaborative Leadership Look Like?

If you’ve never experienced this form of leadership before, it may be difficult to imagine. A perfect example is a business where the manager or owner invites input from employees before making any final decisions. This inclusion among team members and executives occurs on a regular basis, and ultimately results in all employees feeling that their opinions, ideas and input are respected and appreciated.

Why is Being Collaborative Important in Leadership?

Since collaborative leaders are focused on breeding an environment where everyone is heard and feels valued, this type of atmosphere is conducive to creativity, productivity, and positive morale.

This form of leadership also allows for different perspectives to be considered when making decisions. It can ultimately lead to better, more strategic outcomes for business plans and client projects, as all angles are being considered and more than one person’s thoughts and viewpoints are being taken into account.

What Makes a Good Collaborative Leader?

It’s important that you be able to balance taking charge while also stepping back. Annie Scranton, Owner and Founder of Pace Public Relations, was recently quoted in an article where she noted on collaborative leaders: “The leader is skilled at coaching and assisting their direct report to figure out the answer for themselves…This empowers the employee and makes the relationship between manager and employee enjoyable.”

You need to allow your employees and direct reports to figure out situations for themselves without always providing the direct answer, while also being ready to take charge and provide next actions when needed.

It’s a delicate balance, but one that can be struck with practice. If you think collaborative leadership could be the right fit for you and your team, start by opening up the lines of communication and inviting employees to share their thoughts and ideas on company goals and objectives.

What Other Forms of Leadership Are There?

There are several different types of leadership, and the one you choose will ultimately depend on your goals, your team’s dynamic and what you think will work best. Aside from collaborative, these are a few other popular types of leadership styles:

  • Autocratic: This type of leader is very hands-on, making all the decisions without much input from their team. One of the advantages of this leadership style is that it can be very efficient when time is of the essence and decisions need to be made quickly.
  • Democratic: With this type of leadership, the leader will solicit input and ideas from their team, but ultimately has the final say in decision-making. This can be an effective way to get buy-in from your team, as they feel like their voices are being heard.
  • Laissez-faire: This leadership style is much more hands-off, giving employees the freedom to make their own decisions and come up with their own solutions. While this can lead to some creative thinking and independence among team members, it can also result in a lack of direction and purpose.
  • Delegative:  As the name suggests, this type of leadership involves delegating tasks and responsibilities to team members. This can be a helpful way to manage a large and diverse team, as well as give employees a sense of ownership and responsibility for their work.

How Can You Implement Collaboration with Remote Workers?

If you have team members who work remotely, it can be a bit more difficult to foster a collaborative environment, but it’s certainly not impossible. There are a few things you can do to help encourage collaboration among your remote team members:

  1. Use technology to your advantage: Tools like video conferencing and messaging platforms like Slack can help team members feel more connected and engaged, even if they’re not in the same room.
  2. Create team goals and objectives: Collaborative leadership is all about working together towards a common goal, so make sure your remote team members are aware of and contributing to collective goals.
  3. Schedule regular check-ins: Keep everyone in the loop by scheduling regular check-ins, whether that’s a weekly video call or a monthly update email. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page and no one feels like they’re being left out of the loop.
  4. Encourage open communication: As with any team, it’s important to encourage open communication among remote workers. This can be done through tools like chat apps and team forums, as well as by setting the expectation that team members should reach out if they need help or have questions.
  5. Share information and show vulnerability:  In order to build trust, it’s important that leaders share relevant information with their team and be open about their own vulnerabilities. This will help create a more collaborative and supportive environment for everyone involved.

Bottom Line: What Are the Benefits?

There are many benefits that come with collaborative leadership, both for the leader and the team. When done correctly, collaboration can lead to better decision-making, increased productivity and creativity, and a stronger sense of team cohesion.

Leaders who are able to effectively collaborate with their team are seen as more approachable and trustworthy, which can help build positive relationships with employees.

It’s our favorite form of leadership at Pace PR, and if it sounds like the right fit for you, we recommend trying to involve more collaborative communication strategies into your company plan and workflow!