One of the biggest challenges for any organisation is how it ensures its team members demonstrate that it values learning and innovation!

How can leaders demonstrate the value of ‘failing safely to learn quickly’ across its organisation by problem solving current business dilemmas with a self -directed team approach.

Distributed leadership has become a popular ‘post-heroic’ (Badaracco 2001) representation of leadership which has encouraged a shift in focus from the attributes and behaviours of individual ‘leaders’ (moving from transactional leaders, based on traits and situational style of management) to a collective social process emerging through the interactions of multiple actors (Uhl-Bien 2006).

From this perspective, it is argued:

Distributed leadership is not something ‘done’ by an individual ‘to’ others, or a set of individual actions through which people contribute to a group or organization . . . [it] is a group activity that works through and within relationships, rather than individual action. (Bennett et al. 2003, p. 3)

A key component of this is to empower team members to take on a level of responsibility for their work area to implement new behaviours and processes to improve efficiency based on the organisation’s vision for the future.

Distributed leadership is concerned with leadership practice and not leadership functions. A Distributed Leadership is a model rather than a technique which outlines the interactions between many leaders across all levels of an organisation rather than the actions of an individual leader. If leadership is primarily about influence and direction then in a sense all leadership is distributed.

It means treating all team members of an organisation as experts in their areas of work and harnessing the leadership skills, influence and knowledge for the benefit of the organisation at all levels. This may not translate to distributing the responsibility for the decision making process, though gives all team members an opportunity to contribute in on some level. The results is an improvement in efficiency and/or productivity at all levels. This allows the vision for the future to be implemented in a more comprehensive and effective way.

Research suggests that a Distributed Leadership model enables an organisation to be more flexible and responsive to the demands of the market place and the needs of the customer.

Under Distributed Leadership, everyone is responsible and accountable for leadership within their area of work. 

Distributed Leadership can be engineered by offering new opportunities to lead, by generating broad based leadership and by providing the creative spaces for dialogue and discussion within the network.

Take your steps to your next career journeyAre your ready to change your thinking in leadership development? Contact ACWE for more information.