Is Shared Leadership a Good Idea?
By Vickie Kauffold – Assistant Superintendent of Schools
There is a well-known book written by Robert Fulghum titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. One of the first things that Mr. Fulghum learned in kindergarten is that you must share everything. Sharing – it’s such a simple concept. Yet grown ups who have taken on leadership positions seem to forget they can share their leadership with others.
Shared leadership is a model that develops a culture of collaboration. It’s an invitation to another have a seat at the table when trying to solve a problem your organization is working through. If you are the designated leader in your organization, who do you invite to the table to problem-solve some of your biggest issues?
When an organization embraces a shared leadership mindset, it creates an environment where teams are highly effective. The reason for this success is because they communicate regularly with one another. In their initial communication, the team can decide exactly what they want to accomplish. In making that decision, the vision of the organization needs to be a prominent factor. The team is responsible for communicating their work with all the stakeholders in the organization.
In the end, the team has to determine both what the overall objective is and how they will know if and when the objective is accomplished. This is where data comes into the picture. What are the measurable outcomes that can be monitored along the way to track progress? How are you tracking and documenting data that informs the decisions your team is making? What will happen or better yet, what needs to change in our organization if we fail and don’t meet the objective?
Sharing the Leadership
After you assemble your team at the table, here are some next steps:
- Meet regularly with a clear purpose and an agenda that is documented for each meeting then stick to the planned agenda.
- Have a written plan and a timeline for the implementation of the plan that the team developed.
- Develop a plan for your meetings that will best utilize the skills of the people on your leadership team.
- Clarify what each team member is responsible for.
Some of the biggest challenges we encounter are often paralyzing because we think we need to figure it out on our own. But if we first tackle the problem using a shared leadership model, problems become manageable and we’ve empowered others in our organization to join with us in the mission of organization.