Shared Leadership: How Modern Businesses Run Themselves
Sharing expertise helps keep businesses healthy.
Sharing power and influence while keeping one person in control is known as shared leadership.
Better organizational performance results from shared leadership.
Transparency, promoting autonomy and being receptive to other people’s views all help to establish shared leadership.
This post is for managers who want to use shared leadership to increase staff engagement and innovation.
More open techniques of business administration are quickly replacing outdated, authoritarian ones. These shifts were motivated by social media and more recent online technologies that encourage information sharing as businesses look for new avenues for innovation and expansion.
Call it “Business Management 2.0,” where companies, at least to a certain extent, manage themselves.
More businesses, both large and small, are utilizing this cutting-edge method of doing tasks, known as “shared leadership.” Small firms might experience growth through shared leadership without having to pay for expensive new hires or high-paid management. What companies should know about shared leadership is as follows.
Shared leadership: What is it?
According to Rod Collins, author of Leadership in a Wiki World, “Most firms are set up on the idea that the smartest company is the one with the sharpest people given the responsibility to supervise the work of others” (Dog Ear Publishing, June 2010). “The digital revolution is giving rise to a completely new management model, where the premise is that the most intelligent companies have easy access to the company’s collective knowledge.”
One definition of shared leadership is “broadly sharing power and influence among a set of individuals, rather than concentrating it in the hands of a single individual who acts in the clear role of a dominant superior.” This definition comes from a joint research study that was published in the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Agent Technology.
Traditional versus shared leadership
Compared to the conventional vertical hierarchical management style, shared leadership is different. In a vertical management structure, people in management jobs make the majority of the decisions, while those in inferior posts have minimal influence over those decisions.
Shared leadership involves more cooperation. Even if there is still just one person in command, there is sharing of authority and influence. This could imply that people have more discretion over decisions affecting their jobs or that there is an open-door policy where everyone’s opinions are fairly considered.
Team leadership as opposed to shared leadership
If there are teams in existence, many individuals believe they have shared leadership. While the hierarchy is broken down, shared leadership isn’t achieved. There is often still a team leader within a team; but, in the absence of a team leader, the shared power only applies to the team and not to the organization as a whole.
However, when creating a company culture, teams might be a fantastic way to introduce shared leadership. Teams provide more manageable spaces and can help workers get experience in a leadership role. A study published in the Academy of Management Journal found that for shared leadership to be effective, the team must already have a strong sense of camaraderie, clear goals, and a culture of support for one another.
What makes shared leadership crucial?
A Harvard Business Review article claims that shared leadership improves corporate performance as a whole.
Shared leadership fosters and promotes individual initiative, which has a good impact on how a firm runs. Employee productivity and job satisfaction rise when they have the freedom to take action on what they know needs to be done rather than waiting to be told. Additionally, a happy workforce creates a more conducive environment for the operation of the business.
People have a greater motivation for success when they feel like they have an impact on the organization, have some power, and are responsible for something. People naturally work harder at something they are personally committed in because goals become more personal to them.
The strongest instances of shared leadership, according to Greg A. Chung-Yan, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, occur when decision-making is distributed among several people.
Illustrations of group leadership
While the idea of shared leadership may be new to the corporate world, it has roots in the Roman Empire, when citizens banded together to share power with their Senate colleagues and give the populace a voice that the emperor had to hear.
Modern democracies’ governmental structures also exhibit shared leadership. The power is divided among the many parts of government, with the president or prime minister serving as the final decision-maker, as opposed to one person, such as a king or an authoritarian leader.
Collins provided a business-related illustration. W. L. Gore & Associates, a 9,000-person company situated in Newark, Delaware that manufactures Gore-Tex and other goods, keeps its offices small, with no more than 150 people per office. Collins claims that W. L. Gore effectively works without supervisors and that tasks are taken by workers rather than delegated to them. The business develops ideas and workflow using the aggregate human expertise of its personnel.
Methods for fostering shared leadership
To establish shared leadership, keep these three fundamental ideas in mind:
Make the surroundings secure.
1. Encourage openness.
The foundation of employee pleasure and trust is transparency. Everyone involved is on the same page when every employee is aware of the circumstances, objectives, and viewpoint of the organization. Transparency, with a 93% correlation rate, was shown to be the decisive factor in employee happiness, per a TinyPulse poll that was reported in Forbes.
2. Establish a secure environment.
Employees who feel secure in their work environment are more likely to share their opinions in an inclusive workplace. Because they are the most skilled at what they do, the folks doing the day-to-day work frequently have the best ideas. They are frequently the first to detect problems when something isn’t operating as it should. The team gains from the observations of its members when they believe that their ideas are valued and heard.
3. Encourage employee independence.
To support autonomy, employees must have some discretion over decisions that affect their work. Not many businesses will follow W. L. Gore’s lead allow people to select the employment they want. However, most organizations would profit from granting greater discretion in a few key areas.
Shared leadership for small organizations could be as easy as establishing a meeting style where staff members discuss how ideas differ and where there is consensus rather than debating who has the superior idea, according to Collins.
Giving people responsibility for things and ensuring that their managers are receptive to their staff members’ opinions on the matter, in Chung-opinion, Yan’s may be all that is necessary to implement this new method of management.
According to Chung-Yan, “it’s not the same as assigning the same responsibility to more than one individual or equal responsibility.” The goal is to ensure that managers have an open-door policy and that employees who take a chance and approach them with an idea or report a problem are not penalized.
Is shared leadership effective?
Peter Northouse noted in his book Leadership: Theory and Practice, “Teams with shared leadership have less conflict, more consensus, more trust, and more coherence than teams without shared leadership” (Sage Publications, 2015).
For both the individual members of the organization and the business as a whole, shared leadership has significant advantages. It increases job happiness and staff engagement, as well as the company’s ability to innovate and change more quickly.