The perception of leadership has developed globally and “shared leadership is increasingly important in today’s organization” (Hoch, 2014, p. 541). This type of leadership theory is not based on hierarchal leadership structure, as leadership is traditionally known. Shared leadership is a process of collaboration, rather than a downward dissemination process. According to a study by Rosengren, Bondas & Nordholm (2010) nurses experienced greater satisfaction and more confidence where shared leadership was applied. Research conducted by Hoch (2014) found sharing information and diversity increases the performance ability of members within an organization. Furthermore, in this dynamic of leadership, the followership is shared among those who participate. This theory corresponds with the leader-member exchange theory or what is known as LMX. Northouse describes LMX theory “as a process that is centered on the interactions between leaders and followers” (Northouse, 2014, p. 137).
Shared leadership existed within the Old Testament, as exampled by the account of Joseph and Pharaoh (Genesis 41, New Living Translation, 1996). The Pharaoh of Egypt gave Joseph the ability to lead the innards of his kingdom and went to Joseph for counsel. In this scenario, there was shared leadership. Furthermore, the New Testament hosted several examples of shared leadership. One primary example is found in the formation of the early church. Before the ascension of Jesus Christ, he promised authority that would be granted through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, New Living Translation, 1996). The Holy Spirit provided the Apostles and the church the ability to have shared leadership in the proclamation of the message of Christ (Acts 2:1-4, New Living Translation, 1996). Christ enabled his followers to co-actively work with the Spirit of God to accomplish the task of propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.
Shared leadership is conveying an idea of leading together. Leaders who understand their followers ability to lead within their giftings are more effective than leaders who do not. To become more successful it takes an understanding of others ability to lead. Taking on a submissive role can be difficult to learn, but to increase effectiveness take a step back and allow others to lead.
To have shared leadership you must:
1. Discover what you are good at and what you are not good at
2. Learn to trust others
3. Allow those you work with to take charge in areas they are compentent in
4. Do not allow yourself to feel threatened when others lead
5. Tell others when they are doing a good job
Hoch, J.,E. (2014). Shared leadership, diversity, and information sharing in teams. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 29(5), 541-564.
Holy Bible: New Living Translation. (1996). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
Northouse, Peter G. (2015-02-11). Leadership: Theory and Practice (Page 137). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.
Rosengren, K., Bondas, T., Nordholm, L., & Nordström, G. (2010). Nurses’ views of shared leadership in ICU: A case study. Intensive & Critical Care Nursing, 26(4), 226-33.