Taking on a leadership role is an important step in anyone’s career. What trips many people up though is the belief that leadership is a solitary job – that you have to have all the answers, that you have to make all the decisions, and that you have to be on top of everything that goes on in your area of responsibility. Fact is, the opposite is true. Great leaders share leadership. They understand that the more they can develop and encourage leadership from those around them, the more effective and successful they can be. Here are the top five reasons why shared leadership is the way to go:
- Great ideas abound – You will hear more from more people when you create an environment where it’s OK and expected to speak up and contribute. Ask yourself, “In what ways can I create more opportunities to generate new ideas within my team?”
- Silos break down – Collaboration and connection increases when you reduce the amount of top-down, bottom-up communication and interaction, and instead focus your team on talking to each other and working cross-functionally. Ask yourself, “In what areas of the organization do we need more collaboration and the opportunity to come to agreement without my involvement?”
- You free yourself up – A challenge for many leaders is staying out of the weeds and devoting the necessary amount of time to strategic thinking, long-term planning, and other key responsibilities. By allowing others to lead, you are able to delegate tasks, get out of the way of day-to-day efforts, and focus on higher-level, important and less urgent areas that you are not making time for. Ask yourself, “Am I truly operating at the level in which I need to be or is a good deal of my time taken up with tasks and activities that should be off of my plate?”
- Leaders emerge – No surprise, when you open the door to shared leadership, you reveal the best leaders within your organization, the ones who are willing to step up, step out, and take on more. This is ideal for succession planning. Ask yourself, “Do I know who the next leaders are within this team?”
- You get better results – Let’s face it, even if you have the “right” answer and want to forge ahead, hearing alternatives, challenges to your assumptions, and enhancements to your direction will most likely deliver better results. Ask yourself, “What might I be missing? Is my team telling me what they think I want to hear or are they willing to challenge my thinking?”
There is a level of vulnerability and a need for trust that comes with sharing leadership. You have to be willing to let go of your need to control, and accept that others can get to the same result with a different approach. The more you pave the way for leadership to develop around you, the more you will grow your own leadership. Sharing leadership elevates everyone.
Where can you share leadership?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
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