Collaboration isn’t just for granola crunching community organizers. It can be a powerful tool in almost any workplace in any sector. It can make a team or a whole institution flexible, adaptive and responsive to internal and external realities, helping to ensure longevity, and driving increases in performance quantity and quality.
Managers, supervisors and leaders need to start by creating a culture of learning: for each individual and the organization as a whole. They should maintain a transformational leadership style that is centered on the client – whomever or whatever that may be who gives the organization or company its mission. The leader needs to promote a
“supportive, collaborative, and empowering organizational climate that fosters learning, problem solving risk taking, and innovation. For supervisors to become effective… [it is] important to begin by transforming how one thinks about and views work, relationships with workers, and the organization. Incorporating learning activities into daily routines takes practice and is likely to bring success and failure, the two key elements of effective learning experiences.” (p.8)
Collaboration doesn’t mean a manager relinquishes power to the group, but helps team members strike the sweet balance between individual initiative and the mission of the whole.
Hopkins, K. & Austin. M.J. (2004). The changing nature of human services and supervision. In M.J. Austin & K. Hopkins (Eds.), Supervision as collaboration in the human services: building a learning culture (pp. 3-10). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.