Good Remote Leadership is Collaborative Leadership.

Traditional top-down management methods of the past are done. The future is collaborative leadership - doubly so in the remote environment.

*Video summary of the article below.

Traditional top-down management methods of the past are done. The future is collaborative leadership, especially in the remote environment.

What is collaborative leadership?

Collaborative leadership is the opposite of siloed working styles and top down hierarchal approaches. In collaborative working environments, managers aren’t simply there to oversee projects rather, they work alongside employees and in collaboration with other teams and departments to accomplish shared goals.

This style of leadership replaces the traditional top down style of management where decisions trickled down to employees from management above. That trickle down effect often leaves employees below with little context or insight into why decisions were made.

In collaborative environments, everyone takes collective responsibility for decisions and information is shared organically. No silos! The opposite of the tightly guarded top down approach.

With so many organisations moving to distributed, remote or hybrid models - top-down management approaches are less effective and being replaced by more collaborative approaches.

To add to the working environment trends, millennials are found to be much more in favour of collaborative working structures. According to a survey conducted by Virtuali and Work Place Trends, 91% of respondents expressed a desire to lead.

50% of millennial's surveyed believe leadership is the empowerment of others.

Most notably, millennial also have different expectations of the leaders they work under. They approach leadership in different ways to previous generations. ( We previously wrote more on Modern Leadership here)

A collaborative leader invests time to build relationships, handles conflicts in a constructive manner, and shares control. In contrast, traditional leadership is more autocratic where the leader takes absolute control over his team and takes decisions without consulting his team members. (Leadership styles)

How to foster Collaborative Leadership.

Articulate a clear vision

Having clear goals and a compelling vision is critical for teams to align behind, and to cultivate collaborative teams. Not articulating your vision clearly can leave teams lost and directionless.

A good vision is a good story. A good story creates trust, captures hearts and minds, and serves as a reminder of where we are going.

It is easy to tell if your vision is clearly communicated. Simply, ask anyone at the company what it is! You might be surprised by the responses if you haven't done this exercise before.

Lead by example - implement at the top

Leaders must set the tone by working collaboratively themselves. Its important to demonstrate how you would like to see the entire company working, with the c-level as the example.

Don't be afraid to show some vulnerability. Encouraging more people to engage in problem identification and solution creation makes for much stronger outcomes.

A healthy approach to collaborating is coming to your team and saying " I don't have all the answers, let's find them together."

Create the environment

Tools of course is a big area that we can get focused on here. Collaboration, communication documentation all play a big part and there are many tools that make this process much more effective in the remote environment. (Clearword being one of them of course ;) But, more than tools it is about how leaders demonstrate and cultivate the environment for teams to be collaborative.

The environment should be focused on relationship building more than anything else. Empower teams to work together and lead that charge by getting your hands dirty!

Conveying trust and transparency naturally sets the perfect platform for a thriving creative and collaborative workplace.


For remote working in particular, tightly controlled hierarchical structures are not going to serve your teams well.

Modern organisations are best served by focusing on forward thinking leadership practices that inspire empathetic, value driven work that flourishes in collaborative working environments.