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Why collaborative leaders will always win

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Collaboration|Why collaborative leaders will always winCollaboration is the biggest buzzword in business right now. Along with company culture, it is the zeitgeist of the modern business landscape. In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, agile, innovative businesses that are able to attract and retain talent, are those with the greatest chance of success.

Collaborative leaders understand this. They know instinctively that everyone in the organisation has something to offer. They believe in their human assets and create an environment that allows employees to offer ideas and opinions of their own.

You will only find truly collaborative leaders in organisations with strong and positive cultures. They go hand in hand. This is because real collaboration can only happen in a psychologically safe space where people feel respected, supported and comfortable speaking up.

So, what is it about collaborative leadership that helps a business succeed? Here I’ll be putting collaboration under the spotlight and exploring the reasons why collaborative leadership is so effective. First, let’s take a look at what collaborative leadership is.

What does collaborate leadership look like?

Leaders who understand the importance of collaboration in business have a belief system that everyone has the ability to develop, learn and contribute. This approach is known as growth mindset.

Collaborative leaders with a growth mindset have a very significant set of traits (see more on these below). Importantly, they are able to facilitate interactions, are highly effective communicators and always seek to inspire others. They flatten the traditional hierarchy seen in so many businesses and allow leaders to emerge. There is no place for micromanagement.

Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at Artemis Marketing, understands the importance of his team in the drive to be the most forward-thinking and innovative digital SEO agency around. “Listening to our people is what helps us to be thought-leaders in a highly competitive field.

“Our Rocket Projects draw on people across teams from the highly technical SEO team to our exceptionally creative in-house content writers. I’ve been blown away by the ideas that have come from the most unusual combinations of people in our business.”

In an article for Forbes on the crucial behaviours of collaborative leaders, Carol Kinsey Goman, international keynote speaker and leadership coach, says “A collaborative team isn’t a group of people working together. It’s a group of people working together who trust each other.”

Why collaborative leadership is so effective

Collaborating in business doesn’t really have any drawbacks (unless it is implemented clumsily as an afterthought, and not led by someone who truly understands the benefits, in which case it’s not really collaboration in the true sense).

Collaborative leadership is effective largely because of these three things:

1. Learning and problem-solving

Collaboration propels a business into a culture of on-going learning. This is vital for both company innovation and the progress and development of staff. When employees are encouraged to pool knowledge and skills to overcome problems and find solutions, everyone benefits. Projects move forward, employees learn new skills and learn to trust each other, and the business achieves goals and delivers to clients. This forward-looking approach enables businesses to be infinitely more agile. See more about why businesses need to be agile here.

2. Honesty, openness and trust

Collaboration, when facilitated correctly in business, creates a culture of honesty, openness and trust. Honesty is perhaps one of the most important principles of leadership.

Honest leaders are much more able to build loyalty and trust. There is great power in telling the truth. This doesn’t mean using truth to hurt people. Being radically candid is about being open and honest and not trying to protect people by underplaying problems.

The key difference in the approach of a highly successful collaborative leader is in their ability to listen, understand and discuss problems. For collaborative leaders, the focus is on solving a problem, not blaming a particular person.

Being a highly successful collaborative leader isn’t easy. It’s actually hard work. Sometimes uncomfortable truths have to be shared. But, honesty, metred with integrity, helps and encourages people. It doesn’t shoot people down.

3. Collaboration improves communication and boosts morale

When people are given the opportunity to contribute, grow connections and work together, morale gets a boost. Collaborative efforts rely on effective communication, but in reverse they also contribute to an improvement in working relationships and better communication.

Consider the opposite. In a business where collaboration is poor and teams operate in silos, it is impossible to build trust. Where there’s a lack of trust, you’ll find low morale. See how to make communication and collaboration in the workplace easier here.

Crucial behaviours of a collaborative leader

Collaborative leaders recognise the importance of interpersonal relationships and cross-team collaborations. Truly collaborative leaders are:

  • Curious
  • Generous
  • Appreciative
  • Exceptional listeners
  • Deeply knowledgeable
  • Trustworthy
  • Honest
  • Respectful
  • Diplomatic
  • Accountable
  • Team focused

Good at asking the right questions

They don’t balk at uncertainty or bad ideas. They embrace ambiguity, they discuss it. They turn every idea over and over to find the best ones. Crucially, successful collaborative leaders coach teams to feel OK about failure and not feel stupid if an idea is binned. Every idea is part of a process, and that includes the ones that don’t amount to anything.

Last, but by no means least, collaborative leaders act with integrity at all times and genuinely care about ALL of the people in their business.

Collaboration is no longer a nice-to-have philosophy. To win in business, collaboration is an essential part of business strategy. This can only flourish in businesses with leaders who have what it takes to unleash the best from their people.

8 Tips For Newbie Freelance Writers

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Freelance Writer|8 Tips For Newbie Freelance WritersSome get into freelance writing because they want the flexibility, others because they love to write, most are probably somewhere in between! Whatever the reason behind braving the freelance writing world, as a newbie you might be in search of a little advice to help you along your way.

Get blogging

When you’re starting out, you’ll definitely want to get yourself a blog as part of your website. You’ll still be honing your craft at this stage; so your blog can help you to create samples for your portfolio and improving your writing. If you’re looking to write in a niche area, then you should generally focus all your blog content around this topic. The great thing about blogs is that it’s easy to get plugins that can link to your social media. If you promote your content enough, it’s more likely that potential clients will discover you.

Teach yourself SEO

When you are writing web-based content for clients, it’s often all about search engine optimization. Due to this, if you make it your mission to teach yourself about SEO, then you’ll ensure that you have the skills you need (and you won’t have to try and wing it)! Teach yourself about basic keyword research, meta titles, anchor text, and how to best format an article.

Perfect your research skills

As a freelance writer, you’ll want to ensure that your research skills are top-notch. Ensure that you are using credible sources and properly fact-checking all of the information that you come across. Don’t just go for the first sources that you find, if you take a look at the writing and the quality isn’t high, keep looking. Take your time, find reports, statistics, and quotes to support your writing. Practicing thorough research for your blog articles can help you to improve these skills for when it comes to dealing with clients.

Plan & Organize

When you are managing multiple projects for a range of different clients, it’s vital that you plan and get as organized as you can. Set yourself a schedule which helps you to allocate the time that you need to work on each piece of writing. Don’t take on too many projects when you are starting out. In the beginning, it’s likely to take you longer to complete your research and writing, so make allowances for this.

Get on top of your invoices

One of the challenges of being a freelance writer is keeping on top of your invoicing and ensuring that each client pays you on time. To help you with this, it’s a good idea to use freelance invoice software. Doing so can help you to create invoices and automate the chasing up of your payments too. Ensure that you keep records of all your invoices for tax purposes later down the line.

Keep redrafting

When your still a newbie, you can’t expect everything you write to be amazing straight away. If you’re writing something and you don’t like the sound of it, just keep going. Get the first draft done and you can come back to perfect it later. You’ll often need several first drafts to get something to the standard that you want. Over time, you’ll get quicker, and the redrafting process will become easier!

Use tools

There are a range of tools and apps out there that you will want to take advantage of as a beginner freelance writer. Grammarly is a great tool that can help you to run a thorough check of your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It’s often handy to have a tool like this to check your work (especially when your a few projects in and your eyes are heavy)! If your working from home it can be easier to become distracted so you can also make use of some productivity apps to help you to stay on track.

Keep searching

If you want to keep gaining new clients and stay afloat, it’s vital to keep searching for new projects. Make sure that you SEO optimize your freelancer website and advertise your services on LinkedIn. Look on sites like Problogger or Upwork to source new jobs. You should also ask your clients so far for testimonials that you can use on your website. Testimonials will allow you to show off your credibility and gain more interest. The more that you improve your portfolio, the easier it becomes to get more work (so hang in there)! Treat your website as a way to market yourself as a business.

Tips For Being A Better Boss & Manager

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Better Boss|Tips For Being A Better Boss & ManagerBeing in charge is nice because you get to call the shots but can also be a very difficult position to be in. You have other people relying on you to improve the business and to make sure you’re all achieving your goals.
There’s a lot to think about and attend to, and it can be tempting to have your ego get in the way of doing what’s right. If you want to truly be a better boss and manager, then you have to commit to following through in a couple of areas in particular. Accept that you’ll make mistakes along the way, but what’s most important is that you learn from them and stay flexible with your approach.

Take Care of Yourself

You can be a better boss and manager by being consistent about taking good care of yourself. This includes controlling your mood by eating healthy foods and choosing to exercise regularly. Stay hydrated after breaking a sweat by stocking up on plenty of Halo Sport so you can replenish your body with all of your lost fluids. You’ll find you perform better at work when you have a lot of natural energy to carry you through the day and are committed to practicing self-care.

Have A Positive Attitude

It’s also important that as the boss and manager, you maintain a positive attitude around the office. Your employees are watching you and looking up to you and view you as a role model. Therefore, prove to them you’re the right person for the position by not letting your emotions get the best of you. Encourage others to keep up the good work and to continue on strong even when there are problems to tackle and obstacles to face.

Learn to Delegate out Tasks

You’re going to be doing yourself a favor when you learn how to delegate out tasks properly. You’ll be able to focus more on critical matters such as how to run a better business when you do so properly and regularly. You can be a better boss and manager by making sure your employees are staying busy and challenged on a daily basis.
Check in with them often and make sure they feel that the work they’re doing is putting their skills to good use and is rewarding. It’s your job as the boss to ensure everyone on your team is contributing to the bigger picture and aren’t sitting around with nothing to do.

Avoid Playing Favorites

While it’s okay to build relationships with your employees and subordinates, you do want to stay away from playing favorites. Recognize individuals based on their annual evaluations and daily performance versus whose personality you find the most appealing. You can be a better boss and manager and get more done when you avoid office politics and don’t cause or create drama around the workplace. Instead, focus on motivating the team as a whole and seeing who steps up and stands out all on their own.

How to Boost Your Personal Finances

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Personal Finances|How to Boost Your Personal FinancesThere are many things in life that rely heavily on your personal finances. The nature of your accommodation is determined by your income, while your ability to get loans and credit opportunities is hampered by a poor credit rating. In short, your personal finances, if healthy, can promote your overall wellbeing – and if poorly managed, your personal finances can cause you a great deal of discomfort. This article is all about making your bank balances and financial health that bit better, helping you achieve more in your day to day life.

Budgeting

It goes without saying that you should be careful, if you wish to be responsible with your cash, to spend within your means. The best way to ensure you’re doing this responsibly is to draw up a budget which allows you to keep track of your monthly, weekly and even daily spending.

This used to be a drag – involving the laborious filling in of spreadsheets on your computer – but nowadays it’s a simple task of downloading one of the world’s leading budgeting apps and allowing your spending data to fill in from your banks automatically. Some of the new, digital-era banks also provide this service, breaking down your spending to show you which spending habits are costing you cash.

Understand Your Options

Now, it’s never worth getting a loan unless you actually need one. Of course, a loan can help you get a business off the ground, or can help you meet your bills if you have a particularly costly month that means you’re out of cash before your wage comes through. But they’re something you should be careful not to over-indulge in, as debt can completely scupper your great plans when it comes to your personal finances.

All that said, there are some terrific short-term loan options to keep you out of trouble when it suits you most – like when the landlord’s knocking and asking for your rent. Check out providers like MaxLend, who can provide modest but much-needed same-day loans to keep you ticking over when you feel most concerned that you’re not quite going to keep your financial boat above water for the month. Just make sure that you’re able to keep up with your loan repayments before borrowing any funds.

Income Streams

Most people rely on a job to make their money, while others have two and sometimes even three jobs. This is usually enough – just – to keep you in decent financial health. But to boost that health, you should consider some different methods that might make you money.

The options available here will likely reflect your experience, skillset and expertise. For instance, a bid writer at a construction firm might well be able to write freelance for extra cash. A graphic designer can do personal project work on the side, selling designs on the internet, while others can make handicrafts and sell them on their own personal website. Some individuals even choose to start a small e-Commerce business online, letting it tick over while they’re at work to the point at which their personal finances are much improved.

These three tips are perhaps the most crucial to help you make the most of your personal financial situation as you move through life.

Simple Steps to Increase Online Sales

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development |Increase Online Sales|Simple Steps to Increase Online SalesIf you are a business owner with a business that is predominantly based-online, then no doubt, one of your main aims and goals is to increase the online sales. Whether you are a small business or a large business that is going to be the aim of the game. You might be a retail business that has recently moved online, and have a brick and mortar store, or perhaps you are a solely ecommerce business. But with companies like Amazon taking a huge share of the market, you need to think about using your site in the right way, to help you to get the sales that you need. It can be a bit of a struggle, but done in the right way, and with a little know-how, you can use the internet to help you to boost your sales. Here are some things that you need to consider.

Be Honest in Your Sales Content

This is something that might seem really obvious, but it is quite staggering just how many people with online businesses are essentially writing out checks that they can’t cash, because their products don’t step up to the mark. Honesty is so important to your business and the reputation of your business, as it will help consumers to gain trust in your brand. So check what claims you are making, and make sure that they are backed up. If not, it is best not to mention them at all. So the bottom line is to make sure that you are honest and transparent with your sales content and copy, right through from product descriptions on your website to email newsletters.

Get More Ad Clicks with Ad Extensions

If you want to sell more things online, then having something like and ed extension is really a no-brainer. This kind of feature will allow you to make an ad bigger, with more places for people to click on, meaning that there is more chance of website visits. The good news is that this kind of thing doesn’t cost any extra, but the increase in click-through rates can be amazing.

Search Engine Optimization

If you want to get more people to your site, then you need to make sure that you are doing all you can to SEO your website. This could be done through keywords and ads, as mentioned, as well as using a blog and create links back online, using other blogs too. If you’re not too sure what you are doing with this, then you could always look for an SEO marketing agency to do the job for you. After all, if your business is all online, then you need to be doing all you can to people to visit.

A Bulletproof Money-Back Guarantee

There are many people that will be wary of using a website, let alone buy from it, if they don’t know your brand name; to them there is a lot of risk involved. So you need to let them know that there is no risk involved, and in most cases, the perceived risk is a financial one. So let them know what you offer for refunds or a money-back guarantee.