When was the last time you were in a meeting where the leader rolled up his or her sleeves and actively engaged in brainstorming, planning, writing or other activity? Often, leaders tend to manage by command-and-control, not by getting into the trenches with the team. Yet, many leaders would agree that effective collaboration is important to team effectiveness.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we take a look at the art of collaboration and the leader’s role in it from Jason Meyers, business author and chief marketing officer at the Matrix Management Institute.

Understand True Collaboration. According to Myers, true collaboration encompasses three characteristics: co-creation, full-team participation and working towards consensus. A collaborative leader uses the collective intelligence of the entire team to get to the outcome, rather than relying primarily on her own intelligence and bits of information from others.

Myers says that collaborative work style calls for consistent processes that a leader uses to engage stakeholders from across the organization in working together to develop the output. This style also requires the ability to foster and maintain strong partnership relationships, based on trust, respect and professional competence, as opposed to authority.

Find Talent Development Programs To Help Leaders Develop Collaborative Skills. Many leaders spend their entire careers in an authoritative environment, so collaboration does not come naturally; it needs to be taught. It’s important to incorporate collaborative development into leadership training programs so they know how to manage in this type of environment. Choose training programs that incorporate games and simulations to help participants compare and contrast traditional directive leadership that’s based on authority, and collaborative leadership that’s based on strong relationships.

Establish Standard Collaborative Methods. Once leaders are trained on collaborative management styles, it’s important to make sure that the organization as a whole applies collaborative methods consistently. Just as you may use the same quality standards or development standards throughout the organization, you also need to create standards for collaboration that works most effectively for your industry, your team and the type of work they do. Standards help implement organizational changes in cases when the organization is transitioning from a top-down management system to a modern, matrix system. When standard methods and tools are in place and leaders are modeling desired practices, it’s easier for others in the organization to follow suit and learn on the job. And, as collaborative methods become part of the organizational culture, people become more engaged, get more work done and get it done faster.

PCT returns to your inbox tomorrow.

Source: Jason Myers is the chief marketing officer at the Matrix Management Institute, leading the demand generation and business development efforts. He has a B.S. in business communications from the University of Kansas and has developed extensive experience working with companies on how content can be used to drive demand and create sales conversations.