“Collaboration isn’t about giving up your individuality. Quite the opposite: it’s about realizing your potential. It’s about bringing your many gifts to the table and sharing them in pursuit of a common goal. It’s about bringing your ideas, your passion, your mind, heart, and soul to your leadership and culture.”

— Meghan Biro, Smart Leaders and the Power of Collaboration

With the collaborative economy pushing businesses into the next phase of social business, executives must learn how to motivate, encourage and lead employees [and customers too] in a way that adds value to everyone involved in the collaborative work environment. Employees and customers are collaborating on products, services and content more than ever before. In preparation for the collaborative economy, consider what role do executives play in fostering a collaborative environment when employees and customers can receive what they need from each other?

During Marissa Mayer’s keynote at Dreamforce last week she explained that one of her greatest responsibilities as CEO at Yahoo! is to clear the path for her employees to easily develop and run forward with their ideas. According to Mayer, your role as a collaborative executive is to play defense — always moving obstacles, bureaucracy and naysayers out of the way in order for your employees to accomplish what is best for the business.

Gianluigi Cuccureddu, co-founder of Damarque, a company offering sustainable solutions to improve performance and innovation, sees collaborative leadership as the way of the future. On Cuccureddu’s blog, he explained that, “In a time where organizations are more and more perceived as platforms, I believe that leaders need to be platforms as well.”

How can leaders and executives help their organizations, employees and even customers be more collaborative? What are the best ways leaders can facilitate a collaborative work experience?