Leaders: You Can’t (and Shouldn’t Have to) Lead Alone

By definition, leadership is about taking control of a group of people and setting the way forward. So it can sound a little nutty and “new age” to suggest that leadership should be shared among a team. But that is precisely what Lisa M. Aldisert is suggesting in an article for SUCCESS, and she actually makes a good case for it.

A Rotating Spotlight

She highlights the reality that some people’s skill sets are a stronger fit for certain jobs than others. As circumstances change, it makes sense that the person with the best-fit skills for the job should lead the team. Or alternatively, maybe different people can lead different aspects of a project according to their skills being best-fit in those respective areas.

In any case, sharing and/or rotating the leadership role is becoming increasingly common in business. Just look at how agile teams sometimes rotate the scrum master role, for instance. Rotating leadership appropriately is a means of empowering individual team members and of improving overall productivity.

Aldisert homes in on six particular ways that sharing the leadership role is a good thing:

  1. It creates a shared vision.
  2. It allows employee strengths to be seen.
  3. It builds individual skills.
  4. It fosters adaptability.
  5. It strengthens relationships.
  6. It teaches a leader how to follow.

These are all welcome things to bring to a team. In particular, Aldisert makes a good point about how sharing the leadership role builds individual skills:

In traditional leadership methods, management tends to choose the most overtly self-confident and outgoing person to lead. But tag-team leadership creates professional development opportunities for everyone on the team.

One of my clients was a new tag-team project leader, and received feedback that she was “bossy” and wasn’t listening to others. She was surprised by the comments, but after nursing some hurt feelings, she used it as a learning opportunity and was mindful going forward to exercise more patience and make sure that all voices were heard. This wasn’t just about being a better listener; she developed a honed ability to draw out team members.

Not every project or business structure will allow you to just outright change who is the leader from moment to moment. But at the least, you as a leader yourself can look for opportunities to let other staff “take the lead” in smaller ways. The benefits will add up.

You can view the original article here: http://www.success.com/article/leaders-you-cant-and-shouldnt-have-to-lead-alone

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