Getting people to work well together is one of the toughest challenges facing any leader.
How to make everyone feel their ideas are welcomed, encouraging active participation, resolving in-fights can be stressful and, at times, demoralising.
Establishing collaborative relationships is not always natural or easy, particularly because people have different lifestyles, backgrounds, and experiences.
Even with the best and most skilled managers, organizations must be able to tap into the varied skills and wider perspectives of other employees.
It is essential that leaders know how to collaborate and develop effective partnerships with others. It is one of the elements that make a manager a true leader.
Collaboration is the vehicle for sharing responsibility and combining knowledge, creativity, and the experience of others. Through extensive research and observation, it has been found that the ability to collaborate is essential in an organization's leadership development.
Effective leaders know how to collaborate, especially when it isn't easy. The benefits of doing so can be significant.
Leaders who believe in the power of collaboration can produce extraordinary results while maintaining a healthy team environment.
Fundamentally, collaboration starts with the leader because they must be willing to let go of some control. However, time demands and urgency can be a major stumbling block in opening up collaborative channels.
Andrew Carnegie said: "No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it."
One of the most important things a leader needs to be able to do to collaborate with his/her team members is to create a culture where members value and listen to alternative views and seek out win-win objectives.
This can be accomplished by clearly identifying common needs and objectives, and certainly should occur on multiple occasions over time.
A leader can also foster collaboration by encouraging active involvement and the free exchange of information. The leader, also, must set the tone by keeping an open mind to different ideas. Furthermore, when the team members engage in collaborative activities, it is essential for the leader to validate and reinforce the collaboration in order to sustain the behavior