shared leadership

How to adopt shared leadership? Explained with examples

Are you a leader? If the answer is yes, you’re likely well aware of the importance of being a leader. But what exactly is shared leadership, and why is it so important? In this blog, we’ll discuss the concept of shared leadership – a leadership style that benefits both managers and leaders. We’ll also explain the benefits and its various advantages and disadvantages. Finally, we’ll provide examples of shared leadership and explain how to implement it in your work life. So whether you’re a leader looking to improve your team’s performance or a manager looking to take your leadership skills to the next level, read on!

What is Shared Leadership?

Shared leadership is a style of leadership which involves leaders sharing decision-making responsibilities and power with team members. This type of leadership emphasizes cooperation and collective decision-making rather than individual achievement or dominance.

Managers have always been in charge, but things have changed with the rise of the sharing economy. With shared leadership, managers share power and resources as per need, promoting team collaboration and trust. It leads to more efficient and effective workforces because it encourages communication and transparency. In turn, this leadership style creates a productive, positive, and sustainable environment for the organization as a whole.

In this leadership model, executives share decision-making authority and responsibilities. This type of structure reduces the amount of stress that employees experience and allows for more effective communication between leaders. It encourages collective problem-solving, improves morale, and creates an environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute their best ideas.

There are other interesting leadership styles that you can check out!

Advantages of Shared Leadership

It is a powerful concept that allows businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively. The benefits of shared leadership include:

  • Faster decision-making: With everyone involved in making decisions, progress is more rapid than if decisions were made solely by those with the most knowledge or experience. This facilitates better problem-solving and innovation by allowing contributions from the whole team.
  • Reduced conflict: In many cases, when individual leaders have autonomy over their departments, disputes arise about how resources should be allocated or who deserves credit for success. When this leadership style is implemented, these conflicts are eliminated because different people hold different levels of authority within the organization and are collectively responsible for the results. 
  • Employee satisfaction: Employees who enjoy working in an environment where they can trust their leader will not feel overloaded or rushed; instead, they will be able to focus on their tasks without distractions from above them. Moreover, when employees are granted a leadership share, they are more likely to be engaged at work, enabling better results.

Disadvantages of Shared Leadership

Shared leadership can have many advantages, but it is essential to be aware of the potential disadvantages to make an informed decision.

  • Lack of Ownership: One disadvantage is that team members may not feel ownership over their projects or goals. Additionally, shared leadership often requires high trust and communication between team members, which can be challenging to maintain in chaotic environments.
  • Increased conflicts: Another problem associated with this leadership style is the increased conflict and stress that it creates. When people are responsible for multiple tasks and responsibilities, disagreements will inevitably be about what should be done and who should do it. This type of organizational chaos often leads to setbacks or slower progress than would otherwise be possible.
  • Individual development suffers: In addition, the shared leadership style can often lead to a lack of individual leadership development. Since team members are not responsible for their projects or goals, they may not feel the need to develop themselves to be influential leaders within the organization.
Ultimately, if this leadership style is suitable for your team, then make sure to carefully consider all the benefits before implementing it into your organization.

Examples of Shared Leadership in Action

Shared leadership is a style of leadership that encourages teamwork and cooperation. It can be a great way to promote collaboration and flexibility within the organization while promoting innovation and creativity. There are many examples of shared leadership in action, so it’s worth learning about them.

For example, one manager may lead by example, delegating authority to other team members. It allows subordinates to feel more comfortable making decisions and taking risks. It also promotes a sense of cohesion and unity within the team. Another excellent example of shared leadership is when a leader gives team members the freedom to pursue their goals in their way. It allows for a great deal of creativity and innovation, as traditional decision-making processes restrain team members. In the end, shared leadership is a leadership style that can benefit everyone involved.

Other instances of shared leadership can look like…

  • Collaborative decision-making: A manager may involve team members in the decision-making process for important issues, seeking their input and opinions, and making decisions together as a group.
  • Delegation of tasks: A manager may delegate tasks to team members based on their strengths and abilities, providing them with the necessary resources and support to complete the tasks successfully.
  • Coaching and mentoring: A manager may support the development of team members by providing regular feedback, coaching, and mentoring to help them grow and develop in their roles, and achieve their career goals. This can involve regularly checking in with team members, setting goals and objectives together, and providing ongoing support and guidance to help them succeed.

How to practice shared leadership with your team?

Shared leadership is a theory and practice that asserts that everyone in a team has the opportunity to lead and that leaders should not dictate everything. Instead, they should create an environment where employees can share their ideas and feedback. It allows team members to be more creative and innovative because they know their ideas will be heard and considered.

The critical element of implementing shared leadership is creating an atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable voicing their opinions freely without fear of retribution or censure from their superiors. For this philosophy to take root, leaders must set an example by being confident in themselves yet open-minded towards others’ thoughts and suggestions. Moreover, a few steps that you can take to practice this leadership style with your team are:

Strengthen the relationships

Creating strong relationships with your team members is the first step to implementing shared leadership. It means being emotionally and intellectually available to them, listening attentively, and treating everyone equally. Doing this will help foster a sense of trust and cohesion within the team, which is essential for success in shared leadership. Moreover, it would help if you also focused on developing emotional competency as a manager to ensure that your team members are mentally prepared for the change. At times, it can be challenging when individuals do not receive due credit for their efforts. You will need to ensure that individual actions are not dulled in the face of team success.

Boost communication

The second step to implementing shared leadership is improving communication between team members. It means ensuring everyone has the same information, providing opportunities for dialogue, and facilitating collaboration. Too often, we rely on formal communication channels at the expense of informal discussions. It results in misunderstandings and miscommunication that can stall team productivity. The key to success with shared leadership is ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned with a common goal so that coordination can occur effectively and rapidly. Moreover, you need to focus on communication to ensure every team member finds a place too, and few do not capture the whole spotlight.

Facilitate collective decision making

The third step to implementing shared leadership is facilitating collective decision-making. It means ensuring team members can share their views and propose solutions without fear of retribution or favoritism. We often try to make decisions ourselves instead of collaborating with others to protect our interests. However, this ultimately slows down team progress and can result in missed opportunities. It relies on cohesion and consensus-building among team members; it cannot be imposed from the top down. Instead, you need to facilitate a culture where everyone feels comfortable contributing their ideas and opinions in an open environment and does not feel isolated.

Make the missions clear

The final step to implementing shared leadership is clarifying the team’s missions. This includes defining the goals and objectives of the team, as well as specifying each member’s role in achieving those goals. Without a clear purpose, it is difficult for team members to know why they are working together and how their contributions can help achieve success. Furthermore, disagreements about team goals can cause division and ultimately undermine teamwork. By clearly delineating the team’s objectives, you establish a foundation from which everyone can work collaboratively towards joint success, even when responsibilities are not concentrated in one place.

Get coaching to ease the change

To successfully implement shared leadership, you must be prepared for a change in your behavior. Shared leadership is not about dictating decision-making or telling team members what to do but facilitating collaboration and consensus-building. However, this leadership style can be challenging to adopt if you are used to making all the decisions without input from others. In such cases, it may help to seek coaching or consulting services that can teach you how best to work with others. You can check out the different types of coaching available for managers and leaders. Otherwise, you can customize your very own with Risely!


Shared leadership is a type of leadership in which team members share decision-making responsibilities. This approach has several benefits that can be helpful for managers, including increased team cohesion and productivity. However, shared leadership has its challenges. Make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of shared leadership before implementing it into your team’s culture. Finally, remember to celebrate the successes of shared leadership with your team members!

Can your decision-making skills guide you toward shared leadership? Test now

The decision-making self-assessment for managers helps them identify inefficiencies and make clear decisions.


Is shared leadership a leadership style?

Shared leadership is a leadership style that calls for contribution of team members in all critical activities such as decision-making and strategy design for the team. It seeks a horizontal, rather than a vertical structure.

What are shared values in leadership?

Shared values developed and adopted by the team form the bedrock of leadership initiatives in a team. These are respected by all team members and guide them in daily operations.

When should shared leadership be used?

Shared leadership is an effective mode of managing teams which are built with experienced and learned employees who seek autonomy at work. The freedom to design work suits their innovative minds.

What are the three dimensions of shared leadership?

The three dimensions of shared leadership are a shared purpose, shared values to guide on the journey, and a shared voice to express concerns of all.

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