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Become a collaborative leader

This article is produced in collaboration with Co&Cie, as part of a special series with expert trainers from Campus Fanslab. We developed the Fanslab Campus training program to deepen the reflection on the intelligent community and to equip managers of Quebec organizations in adopting perspectives in which member engagement and human value creation is at the center of the strategy.


Organizations operate in an increasingly complex world. Managers now need all the contributing brains they can get to position themselves advantageously. Collaborative leadership brings the expertise and strengths of all its members to the organization in a structured way. Would you like to mobilize a team with a clear and common vision, create a solid network and promote learning?

Here are some keys to becoming an inspiring collaborative leader…

Votre style de leadership actuel

In order to integrate collaborative practices, first observe how speech and leadership circulate in the group. You hire specialists, fascinating and competent people. You gather them around a table or stand in a room with their minds on fire.

Does everyone have the opportunity to share their expertise, giving the group access to all the knowledge and experience?

Do the more discreet individuals actively participate in the exchanges? 

The myth of the almighty and charismatic leader is increasingly debunked. Beyond the hierarchical structure of companies or associations, the group chooses to grant its leadership. What is the situation in your organization?

Collaborative practices are inspired by the concept of flattened hierarchy. In a flat organizational structure (far from being monotonous!), knowledge and expertise are transmitted in a more transversal way.

Peer learning and co-development sustain relationships, create a support network and provide access to diverse resources nearby. The organization becomes more resilient through strong employee engagement. In the face of challenges, team members favour solidarity over rivalry. What about you?

Collaboration also avoids working in silos. Leadership multiplies in an integrated way rather than dividing. By sharing leadership in the group, you strengthen your own by fostering synergy in the organization.

Best practices and facilitation strategies

During our mobilizing workshops, we address the 7 strategies for developing collaborative leadership. Here are a few of them:

  • Free yourself from conformism and gain in efficiency
  • Systematically exchange leads during meetings
  • Practicing learning in T
  • Define a vision
Dare to share leadership

Leadership is first cultivated within oneself. We can only take a group to where we are as individuals. When managers wish to exercise a lot of leadership, they would therefore be well advised to avoid going it alone.

Even if we become aware of our own limitations in guiding others in the development of their skills, it often makes more sense to realize what our obvious role in the group is. It is best to remain flexible and let members intervene when they feel it is relevant. In a structured and flexible context, this leads to rich meetings and builds the team’s sense of effectiveness. For example, a person may decide to take action on the climate or take the lead to provide enlightening points on content in which he or she is an expert.

Learning from others

T-Learning is very much in line with the idea of taking advantage of all the knowledge available through structured animations. The vertical bar of the T evokes expertise, in-depth knowledge on a subject or in a field. The horizontal bar of the T invites you to give yourself an overview, to broaden your field of knowledge in contact with that of others.

Define an engaging vision

Another clear example of the benefits of collaborative leadership is vision. A clear vision must be developed to set direction and support the mission of our organization. Agreeing to provide leadership on this issue requires breaking free from conformism and adding a plurality of voices to fundamental issues. By generating a clear vision based on collective intelligence, people rally around it and refer to it when making important decisions. The team commits and takes action with renewed vitality, united before challenges.


Good leaders can be recognized by their ability to listen to the needs of the group. Inspiring a team doesn’t necessarily require an epic speech. Asking good questions, observing and empathizing brings out the best in the discussion. A judicious preparation of certain meetings makes it possible to reach this level of flexibility. Structuring the meeting ensures collaboration and fairness, while keeping the focus on intentions. These are essential elements in mobilizing a team.


At Co&cie, we design a repertoire of structured animations to ensure rich and productive encounters. We take the time to check in. We prepare powerful questions. We plan each step of the animation while practicing letting go when the time comes. Each member can then extract from the meeting a concentrate of knowledge, expertise and fruitful exchanges. The organization is also enriched. Everyone is a winner!


Contact us to experiment with facilitation structures in your organizations and learn how to better collaborate using collective intelligence.

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