INSTANT MBA: Don't Tell Your Employees To Collaborate Without Showing Them How

Jeff Jones

Photo: Fast Company

Today’s advice comes from Jeff Jones, executive vice president at Target, via Fast Company“Collaboration is one of those overused words in business today. And for me, it’s less about encouraging people to collaborate and more about setting the example of what collaboration looks like.”

There are two age-old sayings that back up what Jones is saying: “Show, don’t tell” and “Actions speak louder than words.”

The term collaboration is often loosely thrown around at conferences, in meetings, and in company mission statements. Without action to back up the word, collaboration is just that: a word. Business owners should be an example of the definition. Rather than telling people to collaborate, show them what it means to do so—lead by example.

“As a leader, I have to be prepared to set the right tone, to demonstrate the behaviour that I want in others, and try to create the total conditions that allow people to do their best work together. Just telling people to collaborate never works, but establishing the framework and setting the right example is what I try to do.”

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