The most surprising thing about shared leadership is that most of us are practicing it to some extent all the time.
If you regularly discuss upcoming plans with people who will be affected by them, you are sharing leadership.
If you’re willing to act on unsolicited advice from someone in your company who isn’t your boss, you are sharing leadership.
If you delegate responsibility and authority to someone and then fully support their course of action, you are sharing leadership.
If you allow your teenager to experience the consequences of his or her own choices and thus become a responsible adult, you are sharing leadership.
If you listen to that same teenager’s advice on how your behavior pushes family members away, and then change your behavior, you are sharing leadership.
If you can draw the best ideas out of others on your team then follow their lead, you are sharing leadership.
If you can give and receive leadership — if you can lead and follow — within the same group of people, you are sharing leadership.
If you’re not leading in this way you probably aren’t in the running for company president, head pastor, school principal, CEO or parent of the year. If you’re not leading in this way your people may find you overbearing, high-control and paternalistic. A recent post highlighted research among 80 top leaders, many of whom initially chafed at the idea of shared leadership. As it turned out, when asked, “How do you want to be led?” nearly everyone expressed that they expected leaders above them to share leadership.
What are other ways you observe shared leadership?