How Leaders Encourage Cooperation on a Team

Leader, do you want people to cooperate on the team you lead? Do you want people to get along, support one another, and join forces to achieve the vision?

Of course you do. All leaders want their teams to cooperate. It builds stronger teams when people aren’t on islands to themselves.

How do great leaders encourage cooperation?

I can help you with one quick tip. Let people collaborate. It’s that easy – and powerful. 

Collaboration leads to Cooperation

Cooperation rocks in organizational health!

Cooperation brings:

  • Collective buy-in
  • A sense of ownership and empowerment
  • Less petty arguments
  • Lower resistance to change
  • More passion towards the vision
  • Shared workload
  • Fewer cases of burnout

What leader doesn’t appreciate those things?

When you are leading a team, the more you collaborate with your team, and let them collaborate with others – during the planning process and before the final decisions are made – the more cooperation you’ll receive from your team during the implementation process. 

Let people participate in brainstorming. Give them a voice in the way things will be done. Allow them to ask questions and even offer pushback.

Of course, you can’t collaborate on every decision. One of the reasons you are leader is to make big picture, strategic decisions. You often have a vision others can’t immediately see until you lead them there. 

Whenever a decision, however, impacts other people, especially if it:

  • Impacts how they do their work.
  • Changes the basic nature of what they do.
  • Significantly impacts the future of the team or organization.

In those type situations, I suggest you allow collaboration, because it always brings better cooperation from the team. (By the way, in the church, this is true of paid staff or volunteers.)

In fact, the opposite can be equally true. A lack of collaboration naturally brings a lack of cooperation. People will resist the change. They will be less enthusiastic about the outcome. They will wait for instruction rather than take initiative on their own.

As leaders, we must learn to collaborate better –  so our teams can learn to cooperate better.

How have you seen this principle work or the opposite effect occur in a team’s health? Help us learn from your experience.

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6 thoughts on “How Leaders Encourage Cooperation on a Team

  1. Ron! I have seen this approach work wonders in our function of internal auditing. Rather than policing the clients, colloborating with them has yielded good reception and acceptance from our clients. The same is true in a team management too. We are not competing but complementing each other in a team.

    • I can easily see where this would help in auditing. You guys often get an unfair perception anyway so this could help
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  2. The level of a team members contribution at all levels, within the organization or on a project, rises with their sense being needed by the leader for success to be achieved. The leader can't fake this attitude, at least not for long. I have seen individuals with mediocre performance push beyond what they thought they could do, solely on the basis of a belief that the leader truly values their ideas. When you get a team believing that the thing is theirs – win or lose – they will work harder, go the extra mile, and give of themselves in a way that makes doing the impossible possible.