• Kevin Nourse, PhD, PCC

Research Briefs: Enhancing leadership team effectiveness through shared leadership

Recent social science research has provided more answers regarding the factors that contribute to higher team performance.

Four researchers from Denmark and the USA (Fausing et al., 2013) conducted a study to understand better the conditions associated with shared leadership that translated to higher team performance. Prior researchers discovered the positive relationship between shared leadership and team performance. This study examined the dynamics of 81 work teams in Denmark and found team leaders who empower members is not enough to enhance the productivity of a team. The critical ingredient is interdependency. If there is no compelling reason for team members to work together on shared goals, efforts by an empowering team leader to share power will not result in better team outcomes.

As CEO, you can take some actions to share leadership, empower, and build interdependence among your leadership team including:

  1. Ask your executive team members what empowerment means to them and what they would see you as an empowering leader.

  2. Invite team members to act as champions (formulating a vision, building support, creating work plans, communicating successes)for major organizational strategic priorities; explicitly clarify their role and level of autonomy in serving as a champion.

  3. Support participation in leadership meetings by inviting team members to develop appropriate agendas, facilitate conversations, and communicate meeting outcomes to stakeholders. Perhaps this could take the form of rotating meeting leadership among the executive team.

  4. Recognize the efforts of team members to autonomously resolve interpersonal conflicts with each other (rather than coming to you as CEO to mediate the issues).

  5. Suggest that executive team members occasionally meet without you being present to explore issues autonomously and provide you a recommended course of action.

  6. Coach individual team members to enhance their systems thinking capabilities by exploring how their proposed initiatives or priorities impact other functional areas.

While leadership team effectiveness is a thorny issue, recent research has shed some light on two critical factors that enhance shared leadership and team outcomes.

Fausing, M.S., Joensson, T.S., Lewandowski, J., and Bligh, M. (2013), “Antecedents of shared leadership: empowering leadership and interdependence”, Leadership and Organization Development Journal, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 271-291.

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Dr. Kevin Nourse has more than 20 years of experience developing resilient leaders and teams. He is the founder of Nourse Leadership Strategies, a coaching and leadership development firm based in Southern California. For more information, contact Kevin at 310.715.8315 or kevin@nourseleadership.com

(c) 2018 Kevin Nourse

#leadershipteams #researchbrief


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