Shared or collective leadership is a great way to ensure business continuity and minimize the risk of unexpected leader-ship crises created by vacancies at the top
The prime challenge of leadership is to bring together a group of diverse individuals and create an environment where they will work effectively towards complicated than the abundant, oversimplified literature on collaboration you would have read about. Today, new paradigms of organizational hierarchies are emerging and with it, new styles of leadership are becoming more acceptable. It is up to human capital specialists to confront these new challenges with new thinking. The Dale Carnegie Complimentary Workshops across India will be addressing these dynamic leadership challenges in a result-oriented way. Collective leadership involves not only sharing of authority, but also accountability. The latter can often be ignored when there is a crisis situation or results are not achieved. Dale Carnegie Training India recently released a comprehensive Employee Engagement report where we discovered that one of the few ways to get a group of people to take collective responsibility is to engage them in their work and in a larger purpose. A significant 61% of employees were willing to put in extra work hours to complete a task when they were engaged.
When we apply this knowledge to the paradigm of collective leadership, we can see remarkable results. Shared goals and synergized strategy are by products of “employee buy-in”, which in turn is the result of engaging people together.
Shared or collective leadership is a great way to ensure business continuity and minimize the risk of unexpected leadership crises created by vacancies at the top. Some of the important tools to attain the same are:
• Establish clearly defined goals at the start with benchmarks for expected performance and allocated tasks among members.
• Invest in developing strong communication people and team engagement skills.
• Assess levels of employee engagement at regu-lar intervals.
• Set up regular coaching and feedback mechanisms.
• Collectively celebrate success.
These steps help decision-makers stay informed, red-flag issues and tackle them at an early stage. When the senior management follows the path of collective leadership, it also benefits the entire company in achieving the shared vision. However, although collaborative approaches can help develop passion and engagement among individuals, the need for accountability and clear execution of strategy remains sacrosanct. You need to find a way to blend both so that the organization is networked and collaborative, yet remains focused on execution and accountable for delivering on strategy.
A word of caution though: It is common to see teams practice collective leadership on a high note to begin with but lose out mid-way through everyday tasks and ego clashes. The two challenges here are inaction due to lack of direct responsibility and stagnation due to lack of consensus. A better alternative would be to start small - many firms prefer to test out collective leadership on a small scale before rolling it out globally. In our 12 years of working with premier companies in India we have emphasized that, assessing and developing employee engagement is vital for igniting workplace enthusiasm to achieve business results.
Stakeholder collaboration defines collective leadership, but achieving this without a particular person taking charge is easier said than done. Often, when Dale Carnegie Training has partnered with companies for leadership development, we encourage them to set up a robust problem-solving process as a way to turn the challenges into opportunities. When groups of people need to work together inclusively, adopting a rotational responsibility makes employees more open to collaborate. However, the buck, which should always stop somewhere, has to stop at the top.
If an organization accepts collective leadership, it can benefit from the increased amount of employee empowerment and sustainability that come with this model. Placing trust and responsibility in the hands of employees encourages them to step up and be leaders. Flat organizational structures are the norm but distributed authority also implies greater accountability. In the end, successful collective models with engaged stakeholders at the helm have the ability to turn average managers into exceptional leaders.