Would Shared Leadership Work for You?

Joe Weinlick
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Changing how you define leadership in your organization can lead to better solutions and higher engagement. A rigid hierarchy might seem effective, but employees have little room to grow in a leadership model that downplays the value of the team. When you loosen the reins, employees get comfortable taking charge, contributing ideas and adapting to change. Consider shifting to a shared leadership model to develop flexible teams that can successfully tackle ambitious goals.

The Pitfalls of a Transactional Leadership Model

Does your organization have a strategy for dealing with change? Do you rely on a few select people to come up with an innovative vision for the future? By limiting who has a voice in the company, you lose opportunities to identify great ideas and assign tasks to the people best suited for them.

In a transactional leadership model, the employer-employee relationship is a simple exchange that keeps the machine running. Power moves in one direction. The boss is the active party who makes all the decisions and has the right answers, while employees are mere followers who exist to be molded and carry out orders. Employees get rewards for doing what they're told and punishment for going against the status quo.

Noticing a problem? Most people aren't motivated by a paycheck alone. Employees want to make meaningful contributions and get recognition for their efforts. Not to mention, the best workers flee to other companies when they aren't allowed to take on more challenging work and develop their skills. If you build up a small, elite group of leaders as the company heroes, you can only draw from their limited skills and experience when setting new goals.

The Benefits of a Transformational Leadership Model

Letting go of transactional leadership isn't easy for managers with trust and accountability issues. First, you have to acknowledge that leaders aren't all-knowing or more qualified than everyone else. Good leaders don't have all the answers, but they provide the tools and guidance to help the team move forward and achieve better results together. Individual employees gain recognition and support beyond a transactional paycheck, so they're more likely to feel invested in the company's success.

Transformational workplaces use leadership development and daily collaboration to boost performance across entire teams. Managers actively empower workers to learn and grow, thereby creating more leaders who can steer the company through future phases of change. In this model, assessing the team and understanding how each person can push the organization further is just as important as studying business operations. Leaders have to know how to recognize employee strengths and assign tasks that prepare people to handle higher roles in the organization.

Employers that lack a solid plan for leadership development struggle to keep up with competitors who are better equipped for change. A shared leadership model is the key to motivating teams and generating the most value from skilled employees. Do you think shared leadership could transform your organization and improve employee engagement?

Photo courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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