Thinking Outloud

Leaders Create Teams Through Shared Leadership

Leaders Create Teams Through Shared Leadership

Creating a genuine team is not a feel-good exercise. It is the most effective strategic advantage any business or organization can harness for success and growth. Here is the challenge. To create a genuine team-based culture requires shared leadership.

With few exceptions, we all value most what is ours. We are the most engaged when we have skin in the game, when we have been part of the founding, the envisioning, the creating and the implementation.

So how do CEOs, Executive Directors & Board Chairs share leadership in a consistent way without creating chaos?

In October 2023 I wrote about The Power of Consensus Decision Making

Step 1 of shared leadership requires consensus decision making

Implementing consensus decision making is the first step in the process. It requires leaders to share authority, responsibility, and accountability through a consensus process.

Relying on positional power and authoritarian decision making may create some measure of compliance but it will not result in the buy-in that is necessary to create a real team.

Consensus is not everyone in the group agreeing 100% on everything all the time. That’s not a reasonable expectation. A hoped-for outcome is for 2/3 of the participants to agree on the final decision.

Consensus exists when each member of the group can honestly make these three statements to every other member.

  • I believe you understand my point of view.
  • I believe I understand your point of view.
  • I believe the decision has been made in an open and fair manner, and I am willing to support the group’s decision whether or not it’s my preference.

Consensus requires a safe environment where all participants can contribute and fully welcome the less popular points of view among the group members.

Conversely, the group members with a less popular point of view must fiercely share their thoughts and ideas. Not after the meeting, not just with others who agree, but with everyone. Leaders who wish to foster real team building need to allow for the time and space for robust sharing of all ideas.

It will come as no surprise that the foundation of consensus decision making is trust. Trust in the process and trust in the presumption of goodwill among the collaborators. The willingness to listen and to speak openly will not happen unless there is trust. Trust is at the heart of every team. No trust; no team

No Trust – No Team

Step 2 in the process of shared leadership is balance.

In order to effectively share leadership a balance of delegated authority, responsibility, and accountability are required. Both parties to the delegation must be clear about the level of authority and responsibility being delegated and accepted. The delegation process requires open and straight forward 2-way communication.

Authority – The right to act in the area for which one has accepted and is held responsible. Authority must be exercised commensurate with responsibility. It’s important to note that information is a vital ingredient in authority. If information is withheld, so is authority.

Responsibility – The clear allocation and acceptance of responsibility so everyone knows who is responsible for what and when. This responsibility reality needs to be visible within the organization.

Accountability – The retrospective review of the decisions or actions taken to determine if they were appropriate. So that if they were not, corrective action can be taken, which must never be punitive.

Step 3 requires clear levels of delegated authority

This is how leaders keep everyone on the team engaged while avoiding chaos.

Level l Authority– Data gathering only. Someone else will use the data to craft a recommendation & take action.

Level 2 Authority– Gather data and come back to the leader/group with recommendations, only.

Level 3 Authority– Gather data, make a recommendation, negotiate for the approval of your best option by the leader/ group. Then act on behalf of the leader/group.

Level 4 Authority– Gather data, consider options, act on behalf of the leader/group. No approval step is required. Just do it.

Again, clear and straightforward communication between all parties to the delegation are necessary. This overall approach to team building through shared leadership is simple but not easy.

Are we really a team?

Before undertaking a team-building effort using shared leadership, you need to ask yourself this most important question “Are we really a team?”

Is the group you want to build into a team really ready to share common goals, as well as the rewards & the responsibility to achieve those goals?

Can members of the group set aside individual needs for the greater good?

If you answer NO to any of these questions, let’s talk about what it will take to create a truly committed team bent on taking action together for your business or organization. Use the link to set up a free introductory consultation. It would be great to talk with you.

Read More Posts:

Feeling Overwhelmed by Holiday Hoopla? Go on a Joy Diet!

Feeling Overwhelmed by Holiday Hoopla? Go on a Joy Diet!

As the mid-winter darkness surrounds us, holiday celebrations are fast approaching. We are on the brink of the biggest consumption season of the year. Too much food, too much to do, too many gifts, too much money spent……the list goes on. It’s overwhelming!!!! Here is...

Finding Original Medicine

Finding Original Medicine

Do you ever feel like you have gotten lost in the day-to-day stress & hassle of life and work? So often I meet entrepreneurs, nonprofit & business execs who are exhausted givers & fixers. High achievers who are sick & tired of being sick & tired....

The Power of Consensus Decision Making

The Power of Consensus Decision Making

During the last 2 decades of consulting, I found that businesses and organizations were highly motivated by the goal of bringing in more money by revenue generation and charitable donations. What I most often found during the engagement were dysfunctional systems and...