AmCham Slovakia


Embracing collaborative leadership

A seismic shift is about to occur in the way organizations operate. Instead of days of rigid hierarchies and siloed departments there is a new approach of collaborative leadership supporting innovation, productivity, and employee engagement. The question is what to do to fit into the new era.

Despite the stories of known sole leaders bringing disrupting changes into the environment such as Steve Jobs, times when the CEO made all decisions are gone. The power of collective wisdom, idea-sharing, and synergy among team members prove to be more potent. Modern managers are expected to be facilitators of collaboration, fostering environments where teams thrive. The challenge for companies that want to stay ahead of competition is how to support this shift of managerial style and simultaneously how to encourage the team to play an active role.

What a company needs to do to support the shift

Managers are currently learning the new way. Central to this is the manager’s role in setting the stage for effective teamwork by establishing clear objectives, providing necessary resources, and empowering team members. But there is a challenge on the other side as well. When we speak with clients, they are asking how to support their people in more collaboration and bringing new ideas. Day to day life in companies is quick and people usually do not have much extra time at their hands for “discussions”. What we propose to our clients is to create a framework – established time slots throughout the year when people are put together in rooms – whether on-site or off-site – and in a structured way with a facilitator they solve the problems they encounter at work. In these plans, one portion of time should be devoted to personal development – either assisting people in giving and receiving feedback, coaching their peers,  improving communication between each other or learning how to support their overall mental wellbeing. Another portion of time needs to be invested in giving space to people to brainstorm ideas and improve what they do.

In a regular team meeting, they won’t have that space, or they might not have the courage. In the context of a “let’s train ourselves” workshop, where everything is permitted, there’s more safety. Call it innovative or creative workshops, teambuildings, team collaboration trainings or as we did in Grant Thornton – The People Experience Journey – each company can find its own angle of what the message and aim of these activities could be. The time needed for this kind of activity doesn’t need to be too extensive – let’s say four half days a year. Efficiency is the cornerstone here. By condensing these engagements into manageable timeframes—strategically planned within the workday—companies can achieve profound impact without disrupting the employees’ work-life balance.

The managers should actively engage with people in these activities: the co-creation aspect is crucial. It’s important for managers to understand what their people live by, what opinions they hold.

Features of collaborative sessions

What sets the below listed sessions apart is their structure and methodology. By incorporating creative techniques like analogies instead of traditional open discussions, these workshops propel participants to perceive problems and solutions from fresh angles. This process challenges conventional thinking patterns, encouraging teams to embrace diverse perspectives and ideate in novel ways.

  • Reimagining Workshops and Team Collaborations - These sessions aren’t merely about fostering teamwork; they’re an incubator for innovation and creativity. Each workshop is an opportunity for teams to bond, learn, and think differently, all while honing skills crucial for contemporary work environments.
  • Tailoring the Message and Aim - One of the most exciting aspects of these activities is their adaptability. Every company can carve its unique message and objectives. Whether it’s fostering a culture of innovation, enhancing collaboration, or reinforcing specific company values, these sessions are customizable to meet specific organizational needs.
  • Balancing Time and Effectiveness - Efficiency is crucial. By condensing these engagements into manageable timeframes—strategically planned within the workday—companies can achieve profound impacts without disrupting employees’ work-life balance.
  • Creative Techniques for Fresh Insights - The utilization of creative techniques serves as a catalyst for innovation. It prompts individuals to approach problems with a fresh mindset, unlocking innovative solutions that conventional methods might overlook.

These innovative workshops and collaborative training sessions transcend conventional team-building exercises. They’re an investment in reshaping mindsets, fostering creativity, and cultivating a culture of collaboration that propels organizations towards continued success.

Sometimes, a specific solution might not emerge from such a workshop, but often, it aligns in the future. It’s about people learning to contemplate, think, foresee what comes next, which isn’t particularly common in the Slovak context.

Key benefits of collaborative approach are multiple:

  • Cultivating innovation: Diverse perspectives and teamwork lead to breakthrough solutions.
  • Amplifying productivity: Collaborative teams produce higher quality outputs.
  • Elevating engagement: Open dialogue fosters satisfaction and commitment among team members, shaping a positive company culture.
  • Trust and effective communication: These are fostered by transparency and collaboration.
  • Adapting to modern work: Collaborative approaches bridge geographical barriers in remote work setups.
  • Future-proofing organizations: Embracing collaborative leadership enables agile, adaptable teams to navigate uncertainties and drive sustained growth and innovation.

The shift from traditional management styles to collaborative leadership signifies a transformative leap toward fostering creativity, innovation, and employee engagement. This modern work approach isn’t merely a change in strategy, it’s a fundamental redefinition of how businesses operate and succeed in today’s dynamic world. As organizations continue to embrace collaborative approaches, they position themselves at the forefront of innovation and progress, shaping the future of work.

Andrea Vančíková, Human Capital Services Director, Grant Thornton