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Shared Leadership

Shared Leadership

Key Idea

The idea starts with the notion that two (or more) heads are better than one. Think team, not tyrant. Shared leadership focuses on a set of practices (and skills) created by the group rather than the voice or vision of any single individual. It emphasizes the ways in which members of a group influence and shape the enterprise. Think institutional traits rather than individual traits. 

Book to Read

Shared Leadership
by Craig Pearce & Jay Conger (editors) (2002)

Quick Take from the Book

The shared leadership model responds to the following currents:

  • Leaders are being asked to create less hierarchical organizations, enterprises that emphasize collaboration and teamwork.
  • The language of power is changing -- away from “command and control” and toward “dialogue and relationships.”
  • Networks are becoming the hub of innovation and organizational learning.

 Quote of Note

"Resistance to the notion of shared leadership stems from thousands of years of cultural conditioning. Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Plato wrote that leadership is a rare trait typically possessed by only one person in any society, an individual who has a unique lock on wisdom and truth...[P]lato’s view coincided with the nature of the only kind of leadership people ever saw in practice: one-man rule. Shared leadership for most people is simply counterintuitive. Leadership is obviously and manifestly an individual trait and activity…[Yet] when the facts are fully assembled, even the most fabled “solitary” leaders relied on the support of a team of other effective leaders." — O’toole, Galbaith and Lawler, p. 251.

Related Styles: Open Leadership, Complexity Leadership

Return to List of Leadership Styles