What is shared leadership? Learn how to apply this concept

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What is shared leadership?  Learn how to apply this concept

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Nobody is good alone. This motto is essential within an organizational environment, where the achievement of goals and objectives is taken into account. In this sense, we can consider shared leadership as an option in people management. But what is shared leadership?

One Harvard University study showed that 63% of UK citizens consider their leaders the main demotivating factor at work. Hence, the need to identify a good leader.

The lack of flexibility, coerciveness and centralization of decisions are some of the reasons that cause this demotivation.

Therefore, the concept of shared leadership has been gaining strength. In this way, theEmployees gain greater importance in projects, and may even more actively influence projects and tasks.

With that, it is possible increase engagement and retaining talent becomes more constant, because professionals work more willingly, due to the importance of their opinion in the processes, raising the team’s performance.

Thus, shared leadership can bring several benefits to companies, but not without first proposing numerous challenges to be implemented.

In this article we will explain what shared leadership is and the advantages of shared leadership and how to apply it. Keep reading!

What is shared leadership?

Before we talk about the advantages and challenges of shared leadership, let’s detail its characteristics, helping to understand why everyone can be bosses, but few can be leaders.

We already made this comparison in the post: Difference between boss and leader: what profile do you want to have?

“Order who can, obeys who has a sense”. How many times have we heard this saying in our professional life? However, this reality no longer works in the current market.

Although it still exists in many companies, where authoritarian leaders block any more active participation of their employees in daily decisions. However, it is common that in these places there is a high rate of absenteeism and turnover.

As we already discussed in the articleTurnover: what are the impacts on the company and how to avoid it?.

That is why in the mid-1970s, the first ideas for shared leadership began to emerge.

This type of leadership is a model of people management, Where the whole team has a voice and decision-making power. Not only that, in shared leadership, all professionals propose ideas and participate in problem solving.

THE flexibility it is the keyword that best describes shared leadership. The founder of the Walmart chain once said, Sam Walton:

“Prominent leaders go out of their way to increase the self-esteem of their people. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can do”.

And that is exactly what shared leadership does.

Co-leadership: the concept

The difference between shared leadership and co-leadership lies precisely in the way teams are divided, with respect to hierarchy levels. If in shared leadership theoretically everyone is a leader, co-leadership is different.

In it, a certain leader shares his power with one or more professionals. That is, two or even more people occupy an identical position of authority in the organization. It would be a call “Leadership with four or more hands”.

This model is widely discussed in the market, as it requires great harmony from the leaders, where flexibility and respect are fundamental for decisions to be taken in consensus, since at no time can doubts remain.

It is important not to confuse shared leadership and co-leadership. If in the first, the powers are divided among everyone on the team, in the second, only one group has this power.

Shared leadership challenges

According to a research by Grupo Cia de Talentos, 79% of young people who are in the job market believe that there is a need for change in hierarchical levels in leadership models for a more collaborative on the market.

However, presenting a shared leadership model is a path full of challenges. Check out some of the main ones below.

  • The leader must become a good listener;
  • There is a need to trust the team;
  • Delegating tasks correctly is a key item;
  • Requires skills to maintain the team’s focus and motivation in the face of challenges;
  • Requires positioning power of the leader in front of the team when necessary, since they also have a power of decision, in the case of shared leadership;
  • It is essential to define the roles of each leader, when opting for co-leadership;
  • It becomes fundamental eliminate vanities and privilege dialogue;
  • You should always respect contrary opinions and take them into account.

If these are the challenges, what are the advantages of shared leadership? We list the main points below.

Advantages of shared leadership


“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader gains his authority through understanding and trust ” (Klaus Balkenhol – German knight).

When it comes to shared leadership and co-leadership, despite their differences, we are talking about be disruptive in the traditional model of leading. In other words, both in one and the other there are more people involved in management and decision making.

Centralization is neglected and “two heads are better than one” is the practice and basis of these models. Find out below some of the main advantages of companies that choose a shared management model.

  • More flexibility;
  • Great integration between collaborators;
  • Enhancing team performance;
  • Shared recognition in results;
  • Active voice for employees in decision making, when the model is shared leadership;
  • Generation of new ideas;
  • Team autonomy;
  • Responsibilities are shared;
  • Increased employee satisfaction and commitment.

How to implement shared leadership

The current market no longer accepts toxic bosses and owners of the truth. With each passing day, professionals need more and more encouragement to feel engaged with the culture and goals in the company.

In this sense, allowing them to have a voice through models of leadership, where they participate more in the decisions, can make the work flow better.

The big secret to assertively implementing shared leadership and co-leadership is get to know your team’s profile and open up the dialogue. Enforcing a new rule can not only take everyone by surprise, but create chaos in the workplace.

With that, it is essential that there is a group conversation about the idea and the new work proposal so that everyone is included when it is implemented.

When implementing a new leadership model, it is essential to consider characteristics such as flexibility, transparency and trust in employees.

High performance in shared leadership

Motivated employees produce 50% more. It was what pointed out a Recent research by Right Management. This motivation, most of the time, is a consequence of good leadership.

O good leader has the ability to take the team to heaven and hell through its management. Especially if he decides to make decisions centrally, without listening to the team.

This boss who doesn’t empathize with the team and believes that only he can make the best decisions is the type of leader that impacts directly on turnover rate of a company, where employees do not usually feel happy and in many cases choose to leave.

However, with the shared leadership that many companies adopt, this scenario has changed and decisions have been shared. Whether with other leaders, in the case of co-leadership or with the whole team, in the case of shared leadership, which has become a trend.

The more the leader succeeds in inserting his collaborators in decision making and trusts them, the greater the chances that he will wear the company’s shirt and engage with the organization.

Leadership initiatives increase team engagement

Shared leadership is also a way to understand the needs of employees and build actions together. Do you know that 62% of employees prefer a company that offers financial care?

With digital tools, your company can help your employees get out of worrying statistics like that 20 million of UK citizens are tied to overdraft.

Get to know the tool HR Consultant UKy and learn how the system that implements the on-demand payment, that is, your employees can advance part of their wages whenever they want.

This tool is changing the way employees handle their wages and generating more satisfaction and motivation of the team with the company.

HR Consultant UKy can be one of the most valued benefits for those who work at your company. Talk to an expert and learn more!

And you, what do you think of shared leadership? Do you like which of the two models? Leave a comment in the post and tell us.



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