What Collective Leadership Is and Isn’t

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This blog is a guest post from Erica Sunarjo, it coordinates with Mark Shapiro’s interview titled Disruption in America’s Favorite Pastime: MLB CEO Shares Insights that aired on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021.

 

What does the dominant approach to leadership research assume? It assumes that a single individual embodies all aspects of the leadership role within a team.

But does this approach fit the reality of the modern business world? No, it doesn’t. The vast majority of fast-growing modern companies are led by multiple individuals (both formal and informal leaders) who make strategic decisions altogether and motivate the team.

Today, we will discuss the basic aspects of collective leadership and compare them to traditional leadership. Let’s dive into the topic.

What is collective leadership, exactly?

In a nutshell, collective leadership can be defined as a group of people with diverse talents and expertise working together toward a shared goal. Collective leadership is associated with strong external and internal motivation. Sharing the same vision, collaborative leaders work enthusiastically and focus on achieving both short-term and long-term success.

In contrast to traditional leadership, collective leadership recognizes that accomplishing ambitious goals is impossible without diverse perspectives and contributions.

View of organization

Collective leadership is viewed as a process. An organization is viewed as a living system rather than a machine.

The success of the project is defined by the relationships among the parts of the system. Working together and taking advantage of each others’ expertise, collective leaders develop unique, innovative solutions that are unattainable for traditional leaders.

Structure

Traditional leadership is based on a pyramid organizational structure. In contrast to it, collective leadership represents a connected network structure.

Collective leaders do not obey each other. They don’t have a boss. They work together toward a shared goal, discuss their ideas openly, and don’t experience excessive pressure.

Marie Fincher, a leadership book writer and editor at best essay education website, shares her thoughts about collecting leadership: “In 2020, hierarchical organizations are doomed to failure. They lack the flexibility to adapt to fast-changing markets and technologies. If you want your company to thrive in the long-run, you should create a connected network structure and promote collective leadership.”

Decision making

Traditional organizations use a “top-down” approach to decision-making. Decisions are taken at the top of the pyramid and permeate down through layers of management.

Organizations that employ collective leadership make decisions in another way. Team members discuss various solutions with each other and greatly rely on the opinions of the experts in the niche.

Imagine there are four collective leaders: web designer, product manager, marketer, and customer support expert. They need to decide on building a new landing page. Who will be responsible for decision-making? All four of them. Whose opinion will influence the final decision the most? Opinions of the web designer and marketer because the landing page design relates to their field of expertise.

Assumptions about people’s capacity

Collective leadership has such an assumption about people’s capacity: people are inherently capable and can be trusted to complete the tasks. People don’t need to be told what to do.

Qualified professionals can do their jobs without supervision and without directions from the boss. A marketer can calculate the cost of an upcoming ad campaign. A writer can choose a topic to cover in the blog. A web designer can pick a font for the home page.

Talented marketers, writers, and web designers don’t need a leader – they can be leaders by themselves and make their project a success. They have enough skills and knowledge to deliver outstanding results, and the absence of the bossy leader only boosts their internal motivation.

Beliefs of how success is created

The traditional approach to leadership teaches us that one person has the skills or talent to create success. Collective approach makes us look at the success of an organization from another angle. Collective leadership shows us that success comes from the diversity and skills of many.

Let’s face it. There is no person in the world that knows the answers to all questions and can find solutions to any emerging problems. But there are teams of experts who can find the required answers and solutions really fast if they work together.

The collective approach to leadership is growing in popularity and for a good reason. Since the modern business world is getting more complex and fast-changing, it’s important to empower experts and give them more authority to adjust strategy.

Benefits of collective leadership

Collective leadership is beneficial for modern organizations:

  • It helps to enhance the decision-making process
  • Boosts motivation
  • Allows to realize the full potential of each team member
  • Helps to increased engagement

Are you ready to revisit your business strategy and change the approach to leadership in your organization? Write a new strategy that employs collective leadership principles, and you will lead your company to success. Feel free to use ClassyEssay or SupremeDissertations if writing help is needed.

Wrapping up

In the coming years, collective leadership will become a common practice. So don’t waste your precious time.  Become an innovative leader today – take a free leadership assessment and enroll in an online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Erica Sunarjo is a professional writer, translator, and editor with a Master’s degree in Marketing and Social Media. She writes thought-provoking articles for publications in a variety of media. She is a regular contributor writer at Subjecto. Even though she is an expert in numerous fields of business, Erica is always dedicated to learning new things. She actively visits conferences and takes online classes to keep her mind open to innovative ideas.

Photo by Kylie Haulk on Unsplash

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