Wanted: Leaders who can collaborate with confidence

Thought Leadership on Business Insights presented by Sterling National Bank.

With significant shifts in the workplace and in the nature of leadership, the future of business is collaborative. Organizations, employees and even customers — increasingly interlinked and interactive — will partner through shared resources, structures, relationships and accountability to drive common goals forward. Astute leaders can foster a creative and cohesive collaborative work environment that leads to success by taking these proactive steps:

  1. Develop a system that helps to inspire collaboration. While collaboration can accelerate innovative R&D, it won’t do so without systems for aggregating and curating ideas and data—and keeping brainstorms on track.
  2. Employees innovate more practically and directly against company goals when they’re reminded of them. Embrace the new coaching style of leadership by developing SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) innovation goals and setting priorities together, establishing automated calendar reminders, regularly discussing progress, and reviewing how their creativity is directly linked to company success.
  3. Collaborative processes are likely to occur at much faster speeds than what your company is comfortable with. Dealing with smaller integrative teams necessitates leaders who will keep a tight pulse on what’s working and what’s not — and who can immediately jump in and shift the direction of a project if need be.
  4. Consider shifting your management structure to one built upon lateral relationships, which are generally more personable and transparent than hierarchical systems.
  5. Interact with and become intimately aware of how innovation teams are functioning so that you can recognize individual contributions, not just the larger group’s role in a collaborative effort. Because team members need to see their contributions apply to both short- and long-term goals, it’s always good to connect the dots between individual accomplishments and their larger impact on the company. By doing so, it will also challenge and inspire other employees to innovate and collaborate.

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