Shared Leadership

Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. What does shared leadership mean ?
2.1 Definitions of Leadership
2.2 Definitions of Shared Leadership
2.3 Definitions of Management
2.4 What are the differences between them?
3. Styles of leaders
3.1 Styles of leadership according to Daniel Goleman
3.2 Styles of leadership according to Hersey et Blanchard
3.3 Styles of leadership according to Blake and Mouton
4. How to implement an effective shared leadership ?
4.1 Personal Qualities
4.2 Team Leadership
4.3 Setting norms for collaborative work
4.4 How to set the norms
5. Shared leadership in practice
6. Benefits of a shared leadership
6.1 Qualities of a Leader that provide benefits for a shared leadership
6.2 Benefits of Shared Leadership
6.3 Results of Shared Leadership
7. Conclusion
8. References
8.1 Books
8.2 Websites

1. Introduction

Hello everybody and welcome to our wiki. In this wiki the main topic is shared leadership. In these paragraphs, you will learn the difference between leadership and shared leadership as well as between shared leadership and management.

In order to understand these concepts it is necessary to know the meaning of leader and what types of leader exists. The concept of shared leadership as well as other concepts explained in the previous wikis (motivation, coaching, team work, dialogue and creativity and idea generation) are needed to improve the effectiveness of the company. If one of these elements fails, the company probably will have serious problems. For example, who can imagine a company that uses shared leadership without using team work?

As described in the following paragraphs shared leadership provides many different kinds of benefits. We will also see the importance of discipline to achieve the desired results.

The aim of this wiki is to show the importance of shared leadership in a company and the best way to understand it, is through practical examples, like the followings.

2. What does Shared Leadership mean ?

That is the question which should be answered after reading this part. Also definitions of leadership and management are mentioned and differences between them. Shared Leadership is considered as well.

2.1 Definitions of Leadership

  • Process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. (Chemers, M. M., 2002)
  • Capacity or ability to lead. (
  • The position or office of a leader. (

The second definition could not be clear in some way so here are few definitions of leader:
  • One who is in charge or in command of others. (
  • A person who rules, guides, or inspires others; head (

As it can be recognized from these definitions normal leadership provides big power. That can lead to abusing of the power. However on the other hand, if something goes wrong, people alway know who is responsible for it.

2.2 Definitions of Shared LeadershipC.jpg

  • Shared leadership describes contexts in which leadership and influence is distributed across the teams (Pearce & Manz, 2005).
  • Shared leadership refers to teams in which many, if not all, the individuals demonstrate leadership, influencing other members as well as providing direction, fostering motivation, and offering support (Carson, Tesluk, & Marrone, 2007; Pearce & Conger, 2003).
  • An emergent team property that results from the distribution of leadership influence across multiple team members. ((Kozlowski & Klein, 2000; Morgeson & Hofmann, 1999))
  • Shared, distributed phenomenon in which there can be several (formally appointed and/or emergent) leaders. (Mehra, Smith, Dixon, and Robertson, 2006)

So that were basic definitions of shared leadership, basically theoretical outcome of this leadership should be same as normal one. However responsibility is divided and work should be more effective. For improving shared leadership following things have to be encouraged:
  • Ownership.
    Problems and issues need to become a responsibility of all with proper chances for people to share and participate.
  • Learning.
    An emphasis on learning and development is necessary so that people can share, understand and contribute to what is going on.
  • Sharing.
    Open, respectful and informed conversation is central.

(Gastil 1997)

2.3 Definitions of Management

  • The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control. (
  • The skilful or resourceful use of materials, time, etc. (
  • Management in all business and organizational activities are the acts of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives efficiently and effectively. (Google Definitions Search)
  • The guidance and control of action required to execute a program. Also, the individuals charged with the responsibility of conducting a program. (Bureau of Justice Assistance - Glossary)
  • Leading, including to set direction for the organization, groups and individuals and also influence people to follow that direction. Examples are establishing strategic direction (vision, values, mission and / or goals) and championing methods of organizational performance management to pursue that direction. (

2.4 What are the differences between them?

2.4.1 Shared Leadership vs. Management

Here are mentioned some of the most important differences between leaders and managers:

Leading people
Managing work
Sets direction
Plans detail
New roads
Existing roads

Picked up from Changing ( ; accessed 02.12.2010)

So basically leader’s way is much more longer and future-looking than manager’s one. And the most important difference can be considered their focus – leading people vs. managing work.

2.4.2 Shared Leadership vs. Leadership

Exhibit 1: Classical and shared leadership compared
Classical leadership
Shared leadership
Displayed by a person’s position in a group or hierarchy.
Identified by the quality of people’s interactions rather than their position.
Leadership evaluated by whether the leader solves problems.
Leadership evaluated by how people are working together.
Leaders provide solutions and answers.
All work to enhance the process and to make it more fulfilling.
Distinct differences between leaders and followers: character, skill, etc.
People are interdependent. All are active participants in the process of leadership.
Communication is often formal.
Communication is crucial with a stress on conversation.
Can often rely on secrecy, deception and payoffs.
Values democratic processes, honesty and shared ethics. Seeks a common good.
Drawing from material in Gloria Nemerowicz and Eugene Rosi (1997) Education for Leadership and Social Responsibility, London: Falmer Press. Page

One of the best pros of shared leadership seems to be responsibility and power dividing. There is not so big pressure on one person and also it protects environment before being dictatorship.

Part Conclusion

Hopefully this part fully covered and explained what shared leadership is and what differences are between other forms of leading. The next part will explain which types of leadership exists and can be useful.

3. The styles of leaders

In this part we are going to see that there are different types of leaders. Every leader does not have the same attitudes and beliefs. This is a reason why shared leadership is more effective. Indeed, in shared leadership different types of leaders work together and put together their characteristics. The impact of the leadership on the business and on the working climate will be more mixed. Here are three theories that explain what are the different types of leaders possible.


3.1 Styles of leadership according to Daniel Goleman

According to Daniel Goleman, there are six types of leaders:
  • the visionary leader
  • the coaching leader
  • the affiliative leader
  • the democratic leader
  • the pacesetting leader
  • the commanding leader.

These leaders base their leadership on the situation which the company or team is going through. This is why below, we are going to explain how the leader acts and in what situation each leadership is best. (Goleman, 2002)

The visionary leader is someone who believes in their visions and tries to motivate everyone in the same direction. This leader is an expert in dealing with problems or challenges. This style is particularly appropriate when a company needs to follow a new direction in order to succeed.

The coaching leader is someone who listens to their employees and encourages them in their work. The leader also helps them to find their strenghts and weaknesses in order to help them in their personal development. This style is particularly appropriate when the leader needs to help the employees to improve their performance.

The affiliative leader is someone who tries to establish a good working environment. The leader is friendly, boosts moral and solves problems. The leader wants the employees to be the first priority and this sometimes leeds to poor performance. This style is particularly appropriate when the employees are going through a stressful moment and when the moral is low.

The democratic leader is someone who is a good listener and who enjoys working in teams. The leader gives every member of the team a right to express themselves. The leader likes to see people’s inputs in the team work and can, by that way, identify new ideas. This style is particularly appropriate when the leader wants their employees to get involved in the work and to give a valuable input.

The pacesetting leader is someone who really wants to achieve goals. That is why they set very high performance standards and is impatient. This style is particularly appropriate when the leader wants to get some high-quality results from a motivated, highly skilled and efficient team.

The commanding leader is someone who commands and threatens. They do not explain their decisions. Therefore this creates a bad atmosphere and decreases the employees’ motivation. This style is particularly appropriate when a business is going through a bad crisis or when the team is dealing with some under performing employees. (Sharlow, 2010)

Goleman says that "The business environment is continually changing and a leader must respond in kind. Hour to hour, day to day, week to week, executives must play their leadership styles like a pro — using the right one at just the right time and in the right measure. The payoff is in the results." That is to say that there is not a best kind of leader but each leader should take care to adjust his leadership to his environment in order to get good results. (Institute for management excellence, 2009)

3.2 Styles of leadership according to Hersey and Blanchard

This part is about a popular theory that was developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. Their theory links leadership styles to the situation that the company or team is going through. They think that there are four main leadership styles and that leaders should be able to adapt their leadership style to the context and environment. That is to say that leaders should be able to know what leadership style they should use to achieve in the best way their goal. Sometimes they should focus on the task that has to be done and sometimes on the employees’ needs and wants. This idea of adapting their leadership style matches with what George Bernard Shaw said : «The reasonable man adapts himself to the world ; the unreasonable persists in trying to adapt the world to himself ».

According to Hersey and Blanchard, there are four main leadership styles:
  • Leadership Style 1 - Telling : the leader says to the employees exactly what to do and how to do it. There is no improvisation possible for them.
  • Leadership Style 2 - Selling : the leader gives a direction to follow and provides information by communicating. The leader “sells” the message to motivate the team.
  • Leadership Style 3 - Participating : the leader focuses more on the relationship they have with the employees rather than on the direction of the team. The leader works with the team, everyone participates and decisions are made together.
  • Leadership Style 4 - Delegating : the leader gives most of the responsibility to the team or to someone of the team. The leader still follows the progress of the work but is less involved in the decisions.

The two first leadership styles are more focused on getting the task done whereas the last two styles are more concerned with developing team members' abilities to work on their own.

These leadership styles have to be chosen by the leader depending on the maturity of the team that is leaded. Each team and each team member do not have the same knowledge and experience. That is why according to Hersey and Blanchard, there are four different maturity levels. And once the leader is aware of the Maturity Level of the team, they should be able to develop the appropriate Leadership Style.

The four maturity levels are:
  • Maturity Level 1: the team members in this level have a lack of knowledge, skills and/or confidence to work on their own. This is why they need to be told what to do and how to do it.
  • Maturity Level 2: the team members are quite motivated and willing to work. Nevertheless they do not always have all the skills necessary to reach the goal.
  • Maturity Level 3: the team members are able to do their job correctly. They have the skills and knowledge needed but they need to be supported.
  • Maturity Level 4: the team members are able to work by themselves. They have many skills and they believe in themselves. In this maturity level the leader can let them work on their own. (Mind tools, 2010)

3.3 Styles of leadership according to Blake and Mouton

This part is about a popular theory that was developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in the 1960’s. They imagined a grid, called the “Managerial Grid” or the “Leadership Grid”, that shows the different objectives that leaders can have. They identify five combinations of leadership styles based on the concern of the task or the people.

According to Blake and Mouton, some leaders are more task-oriented and others are more people-oriented. That is to say that the first ones make decisions in order to achieve the objective that has been set while the second ones make decisions that take into account everyone's interests, needs and wants.

They established five styles of leadership, each taking more or less the importance of the task or the people in the decision making. Below is a picture of the grid showing the different types of leaders.


There are five types of leaders:
  • The Country Club Leader
This type of leader is highly concerned by people and is very lowly concerned by the task. The leader cares about their staff’s feelings and needs. They do their best to create a relaxed working atmosphere where everyone feels good. They want their employees to like them and respect them. On the other hand, that is why the production is not always effective and profitable.

  • The Impoverished Leader
This type of leader is lowly concerned by the task as well as by the people. The leader does not try to create a good atmosphere for the employees. Moreover they do not motivate them nor reward them for their good job. The leader is neutral, does not commit and avoids contacts with the members. The result of this leadership is a team that does not enjoy working and that is disorganised .

  • The Produce or Perish Leader
As the title explains it, this type of leader is highly concerned by getting the task done and lowly concerned by the people. The leader in this case, is very task oriented and the employees are the means to achieve the goal. They direct and decide and like order and discipline. They want the work to be efficient and productive. For that reason, they establish strict rules that have to be followed. If not, they punish those who have not worked well or respected the rules.

  • The Team Leader
This type of leader is highly concerned by the people and the task. The decision they take is balanced between both so that everything can go on well. They try to involve employees as much as possible in the results of the company by motivating them. For that reason, the needs of the employees and the needs of the production happen to be the same. The leader creates an environment where respect, satisfaction, motivation, result and effectiveness meet.

  • The middle-of-the-road Leader
As the title explains it, this type of leader has a medium concern for people and for the task. The leader has a position in the middle: he looks for compromises. Sometimes they get angry, sometimes they apologise. This way of leading is not automatically very good. Indeed, they are never able to reach completely the needs of both the task and the people. (Mind tools, 2010)

Even if these explanations seem to say that some types of leaders are better than others, It is important to notice that there is not a right or wrong way to lead a team. The important thing is to have a leadership style that is the best for the situation.

However, it is useful to understand what your natural leadership tendencies are, so that you can improve your skills and attitudes. Here is a questionnaire that will help you to discover what kind of leader you are. (Blake and Mouton, 1964)

To conclude, we have seen that there does not seem to be the best leadership style. Leaders must just adjust their leadership style to the situation as well as to the people being led. For a shared leadership, it is therefore easier since all leaders have different ways to do their work. Each one of them can have a different style and each leadership style can compelete the leadership styles of the others. In the next part, we will explain how to implement an effective shared leadership.


4. How to implement an effective shared leadership ?

4.1 Personal Qualities

A good Leader knows how to:

Some of these qualities are the topics of the previous wikis. It makes a lot of sense that a good leadership and moreover a good shared leadership need its leaders to be able to work effectively in teams, to communicate well, to motivate but also to be creative in enriching the work.

The efficiency of a good leader takes care of:
His personality / personals characteristics
His behaviour / his skills
The situation / the context
(School of Management of Leonard de Vinci, 2010)

In the motivation wiki we have talked about Mac Gregor (furthermore information in Eurooppa's third wiki). He has observed that people in a company or in an organization may be managed in two different ways and they need to find the one which predominate in each individual in order to have an adaptive management.

4.2 Team Leadership

“Shared leadership means many more people than the administrators have the information and the power to make decisions and enact changes.” (Turning Points, 2001)

To build an efficient shared leadership, an organization absolutely needs to build efficient teams (furthermore information in Eurooppa's first wiki) but also to delegate them useful responsibilities, schedule regular meeting times, increase communication methods, and find ways to implement shared decisions.When organizations adopt shared leadership and decision making as an organizational practice, the role of the previous leader often changes a lot. Instead of being the first decision-maker, the previous leader creates opportunities for the employees to become leaders in decision makers.

Characteristics of Effective TeamsLeaders_(1).jpg
Effective teams:
  • Have a clear mission which guides their project, work
  • Have specific and measurable goals to reach
  • Keep their focus
  • Communicate effectively in and out of the team
  • Improve the ability of team members to function as a team in the future.
  • Create and are committed in the norms they create
(Turning Points, 2001)

We are now going to explain more this last point about the norms needed to implement and effective shared leadership.

4.3 Setting norms for collaborative work

Norms in a shared leadership help the group to work together by being more productive. They are highly recommended in order to implement an effective shared leadership. Once the norms have been chosen, it is needed that the entire group agrees on them and pays attention about their respect and use. The norms can be changed depending on the way the work goes on.


(Turning Points, 2001)

4.4 How to set the norms

Here, the members of the shared leadership will write the norms they want to see in their group. It may be about how the group will act in the organization. Then, the team talks about these norms and adopt the most relevant ones.

(Turning Points, 2001)

5. Shared leadership in practice

In this chapter you are going to learn about shared leadership in practice. Here are presented some companies that use shared leadership methods. We also used Asian companies as an example because shared leadership is more common in Asia.

Each company has a mission and a vision. The mission explains what they do and the vision explains what they want to do in the future. In order to succeed every employee in the organization must follow guidelines and rules to achieve the vision and do their work according to the mission of the company. The most important part is that the leaders of the company encourage everyone to do this. In shared leadership all the leaders can be a part of achieving the mission and the vision and many leaders help this task by holding the important things in order.
In Asia family is one of the most important values. Therefore family leadership is common on Asian companies. Li Ka-Shing, one of the Hutchinson Whampoa and Cheung Kong holding groups owners lead their company closely with the help of his two sons. In America most companies are led by one manager and the hierarchy order is important. Another example of family leadership is William and Victor Fung of Li and Fung. This old fashioned family-run company is now run by the third generation of the family (Mills, 2005.)

The health foundation of the UK has a programme called shared leadership for change in which they helped six health care organizations in improving their quality by shared leadership. The health foundation found that team work is the best tool for better results because each team member bring a different perspective and expertise. Shared leadership helps the team members to work together effectively. The results were good. Each team seemed to benefit from the shared leadership programme because each team member was equally responsible for the project (The health foundation.)

Next you are going to learn how shared leadership is benefitial to an organization.

6. Benefits of a shared leadership

This part shows the advantages of shared leadership, also its benefits and results.
A good leadership could give a lot of benefits to all members of group; especially when they know what is good to their co-operation.

6.1 Qualities of a leader that provide benefits for a shared leadership

In order to implement an effective shared leadership, the leaders should:
  • Be active listeners: it is important to listen to all of the team member’s ideas or problems. It creates a good relationship between everyone.
  • Be honest and integre: leaders should give feedback about the co-operation’s work. They should try to be creative and honest in the feedback.
  • Believe in a passion: everything that they are doing should be done with passion and without routine.
  • Share knowledge: leaders work with their team members and for that reason they should share with them their knowledge about fixing problems. They should also teach them how to avoid bad situations.
  • Connect with people: establish a good relationship with the team is important, because all the team members are working together. It is easier to work in a team when there is a good relationship between all members.
  • Ask the right questions: when communication in team is good, all work is going easier and faster. Asking questions is the best way to avoid some stressful situations.
  • Build relationships: a nice and good atmosphere in work place is necessary for good results.
  • Show respect to the others: Everyone in the team is important. They are parts of the work that has to be done, and without them the work is going to be very hard. Leaders should show respect to all of them, and the team should know about it.
  • Take responsibilities: a leader is responsible for all team members and all projects. So every leader should be prepared to take responsibility.

As we have seen in these examples, leaders should have a lot of qualities. But the most important thing is to be good with the team. Establishing a good co-operation is important if they want the work to be fine. If there is something wrong, every leader should try to fix it as fast as possible, because it could break all the work done.

6.2 Benefits of Shared Leadership

There are lots of studies showing the benefits of shared leadership. Below are few examples about these benefits.

First, shared leadership can be a real benefit for the effectiveness of teams, as rated by members themselves. Furthermore, shared leadership coincides with the effectiveness of teams, as rated by managers as well. Shared leadership is correlated with more objectives indices of performance, such as team sales and growth in revenue. Shared leadership could augment the fact that individuals feel invested in their team, their sense of commitment, as well as increase the application and sharing of knowledge and resources.

Some research have tried to explore the mechanisms that support the benefits of shared leadership. For example, Solansky showed that shared leadership confers a sense of team efficacy. This means that teams have developed the necessary skills to be competent and effective. In addition, shared leadership was also positively related to transitive memory, which is the extent to which members recognize the talents, skills, and knowledge of each other (Solansky, 2008).

Shared Leadership is very hard, but when it is done well the work is nice and fruitful.

6.3 Results of Shared Leadership

In business, shared leadership can take a group of people to make it on higher level and productivity. As Voss Graham said to have a good project you need a good team. This six elements can help to shared leadership in team:
  • Respect for each individual: Respect for each individual is the foundation of effectiveness in team performance. The key is understand each person in your team.
  • Trust in each other: Trust in a group is important, especially for human beings. It is based on feelings and for individuals. Trust is the invisible bond that allows our expectations and standards to rise to higher levels.
  • Common or shared goals: A common or shared goal is the biggest thing in your team. When everyone has the same goal work is going easy and fast. Common goals makes positive emotional energy which is use to have a nice atmosphere.
  • Personal accountability for results: Personal accountability for results is a major contributor to high performance for individuals and teams. The key point of personal accountability is the focus upon results and outcomes over activities.
  • Effective communication: Effective communication drives to good results. The primary factor in making communication effective deals with the choices made by individuals.
  • Discipline to stay the course: Discipline to stay the course is the master key to success for teams and individuals. Loyalty to your team and to your job is important, and you shouldn't forget about it. (Voss Graham)

When a leader and his team are able to achieve these six elements, then it is possible to say that they are a good team.

7. Conclusion

Currently some companies use the shared leadership, and with this method are able to survive in the market and also improve their results. In order to create a leadership, it is needed to create a teamwork as well as using dialogue, motivation, coaching and creativity and idea generation. These factors are essential.

There are a lot of types of leaders and no one is perfect, the most important thing is to know which one to use at any time because the environment is constantly changing. Leaders must learn to adapt their leadership to the situation.

To become a good leader and to achieve a shared leadership some skills and attitudes are necessary. These features are not always natural but with a good training it is possible to improve them. The most important thing in the shared leadership is the responsibility and the shared of power.

One of the many advantages of our main topic is that we can find different views and perspectives that can complement it to achieve a better result. To be effective, when the leadership is shared, they must be clear about the mission of the company and must also use a discipline, which is one of the key factors to achieve success.

external image 3manos.jpg

8. References

8.1 Books

  • Carson, J. B.; Tesluk, P. E.; Marrone ,J. A. 2007. Shared Leadership in Teams. Academy of Management Journal
  • Goleman, D. 2002. Primal Leadership. Arvard Business School Press
  • School of Management of Leonard de Vinci. 2010. Introduction to Management. La défense.
  • Turning Points, 2001. Guide to collaborative culture and shared leadership. Boston.
  • Voss Graham. 2006. "Three Games of Selling," uGrow Publishing

8.2 Websites

  • 12manage. 2010. The executive Fast Track. Accessed 29.11.2010
  • Blake and Mouton questionnaire. Accessed 02.12.2010
  • Bureau of Justice Assistance - Glossary. Accessed 02.12.2010
  • Accessed 02.12.2010
  • Free Management Library. Accessed 02.12.2010
  • Google Definitions Search. Accessed 02.12.2010
  • Harvard business school- Working knowledge. 2005. Asian and American leadership styles: how are they unique. Accessed 1.12.2010
  • Institute for Management Excellence. 2009. Management/Leadership Styles. Accessed 30.11.2010
  • Leadership501 - Examining the Gears of Leadership. Accessed 02.12.2010
  • Mind tools. 2010. Blake Mouton Managerial Grid. Accessed 30.11.2010
  • Mind tools. 2010. The Hersy-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory. Accessed 29.11.2010
  • Patricia Bradley. 2010. Accessed 01.12.2010
  • Psychlopedia. Accessed 02.12.2010
  • Sharlow, B. 2010. Situational Leadership. Accessed 30.11.2010
  • The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education. Accessed 02.12.2010
  • The health foundation. Snapshot- Shared leadership for change. Accessed 01.12.2010
  • Accessed 02.12.2010