The 5 Qualities of a Responsible Leader

In a business, the CEO or figurehead of authority represents and is responsible for the entire company: its financial performance, the quality of the resources, products and services, the partnerships, employee health and security and the social and ethical responsibilities to name a few.


He/she needs to be surrounded with colleagues of high quality and integrity and that can assume their share of the responsibilities.


The technicians, professionals, managers, the clientele representatives who are responsible for providing the best possible service to clients (efficient and respectful answers and within a reasonable delay) or any other individual within an organization is expected to be accountable within their scope of the role and responsibility.


The duty of being accountable is linked to the leader and to his/her duty to assume the responsibility and be answerable for both positive and negative consequences and outcomes. The leader does not delegate the responsibility to others, to the past, to ignorance (by claiming to have been misinformed) or put the blame on any other excuse.


The political leader or CEO’s accountability is highlighted by the following qualities:


1. By recognizing a mistake and authentically apologizing to those who were deceived in the process.


2. By recognizing the consequences of a mistake.


3. By concentrating the following efforts on actions to be taken rather than on finding excuses, apologizing or lingering on the initial emotions of deception.


4. By presenting the actions that will be taken to fix a situation and to prevent it from being reproduced.


5. By speaking of a problem in the first person rather than hiding behind the “we” of the organization or by putting the blame on others.


The ability of a leader to authentically acknowledge and assume their accountability in any situation inspires confidence and encourages the search for solutions.


The opposite of accountability is when a leader discharges his/her responsibility on others and blames the consequence on the circumstances. This can weaken the confidence in the leader and create a lack of mobilization in the team or organization.


What do you think? Are there other qualities of a responsible leader? Feel free to share any examples or comments on the topic.


Edith Luc


©2011 Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

Shared Leadership: Utopia or a Real Possibility?

The concept of shared leadership is far from being a utopian ideal. There are many successful organizations that have implemented this form of leadership in their management style. There is the case of the Danone Group who has introduced a Leadership College that aims for the training and development of all workers’ leadership. Every individual is involved in the training process and not only the senior executives or individuals with a high potential or status, which can often be the case in other organizations.


The Danone group has also planned to train their suppliers so that they would share the same concept of leadership and the same interest of achieving the company’s objective of providing healthy products for every consumer. Danone’s approach has permitted them to obtain a high level of involvement (85%) from their collaborators, create innovative products and place themselves on the list of worldwide leaders in their field (Frank Riboud).


The case of the health care sector also demonstrates the benefits of implementing shared leadership in an organization. The hospitals who have implemented this approach between their medical and nursing staff have attained superior and concrete results compared to others who based themselves on older models of leadership. These results are: a reduction in the patients’ stay at the hospital, an increase in the security of patients (a reduction in mortality rates and of complications and an increase in treatable interventions), a better retention of nurses and an overall reduction of operating costs.


There are many other examples that can demonstrate the benefits of shared leadership in modern organizations. There is the case of an increased performance in sale teams. There are also studies that demonstrate quantitative impacts from people working in shared leadership, amongst others: a pleasurable work environment and an overall feeling of well-being and of being appreciated and valued within the team.


To conclude, shared leadership can benefit modern organizations by mobilizing workers towards the achievement of common objectives and by increasing the potential of creativity and innovations towards these objectives. Another impact of shared leadership can also be an overall feeling of well-being and happiness shared by different collaborators within and outside the organization.


Edith Luc


© Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

The Four Masks of Influence: How to Mobilize in Other Ways than with Authority, Charm, Manipulation or Intimidation?

Could there be skeletons or ghosts of another era hiding behind and influencing our idea of leadership?


There are four traditional masks used by leaders to influence others, these are: authority, charisma, manipulation of the truth and intimidation. Instead of building authentic relations with others, these masks are used with the goal of manipulating others to advance an individual’s agenda.


The first mask: Mobilizing by using authority.

Although the use of authority is necessary and legitimate in any group or organization, it cannot be the exclusive approach to gain respect and to mobilize others. The leader who wears this mask takes advantage of his hierarchical position to make individuals act in a certain way. This is also the case when the power to influence depends entirely on a figure of authority (the boss) or when it is accompanied by implicit promises of being rewarded or by unfair punishments such as being demoted, losing one’s job or reducing one’s salary.


The shared leadership model, on the other side encourages workers to take action and to make decisions without constantly having to refer to authoritative figures or to the orders and demands delegated from above. An authentic commitment to the common mission and values that are clear and constantly communicated are the qualities that enable workers to decide to act or not on the orders they receive.


In the authoritative approach, workers can be motivated to act and make decisions by fear of a higher power. There is the risk of a loss of mobilization when the orders given are misunderstood or when the situation has changed and cannot be expressed through clear instructions. Furthermore, because every worker waits on the signals and cues of the official leader, an individual’s chances of developing their independence, their sense of responsibility and their creativity are reduced the more the authoritative approach prevails in the organization.


The second mask: Mobilizing with charm.

The leader wears the mask of charm to mobilize like a spider. He weaves a web and lures his workers around him by complimenting them, valorizing their abilities, highlighting their birthdays, giving them days off, greeting them with smiles and taking the time to remind them of successes by putting aside the lessons that can be learned from defeats. The leader’s ability to charm is reinforced by his strong communication skills and by his proficiency in the field.


The leadership resulting from this approach is fragile. It depends on the leader’s charm and on his ability to mobilize others around him. When a deception arises, the responsibility is placed on the leader and the entire organization is demobilized because the leader didn’t develop his colleagues’ ability to make decisions and to act on their own.


The third mask: Mobilizing by manipulating the truth.

Even though the mask of charm can be seen as a form of manipulation, the influence of this approach is defined by the manipulation of information. This is the case when the leader gives half of the information to one individual and the other half to another.


This approach can be effective until the workers start comparing amongst each other the information and the manipulations they were subjected to. This can lead to the discovery of the leader’s lies and manipulations. The mask falls off and the illusions of truth created by leader are discovered. In a society defined by hyper-connectivity, this approach is increasingly ephemeral and inefficient and the risks and costs of failing can have negative repercussions on the entire organization.


The fourth mask: Mobilizing with intimidation.

This is the scariest mask (do not be fooled by the sheep costume, it’s actually a wolf(!)). The individual who wears it uses the insecurities of people to mobilize them and to achieve his goals. This is the case when the leader intimidates his workers in different ways: by using physical threats, by playing the “He-Man” or by insulting and by invoking potentially disastrous situations such as bankruptcies or the intimidation coming from other worker that can occur if the worker doesn’t hide behind the leader’s “protective strength”.



In our increasingly hyper-connected society, our thoughts and intentions have become transparent as information is almost instantaneously accessible and transferable from one person to another. The traditional masks of influence are no longer valid approaches to mobilize and influence. The leader needs to learn to trust in his abilities and to encourage authentic relations amongst individuals.


In the shared leadership model, the subjacent mobilization approaches depend on authenticity rather than on treachery, charm or other types of manipulation. A dialog that encourages true relations amongst individuals and that is centered on the common goal is the foundation of this model. The leader’s partners and collaborators are valued for their skills and for their contributions to the common mission rather than for their subjugation, their devotion to the official leader or their naïve confidence in a manipulative leader.


On this note… Happy Halloween!!!


Edith Luc


©2011 Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

Why Everybody Can and Should Develop their Communication Skills

Seth Godin’s short article “Open conversations (or close them)” illustrates two important aspects of communication that should be developed for those wishing to improve their leadership potential. These are:

    1. That communication skills need to be developed both inside and outside the work environment to create links, influence or convince another individual.


    2. That any individual has the power to influence a situation to achieve a goal or to solve a problem.


In both situations, the speakers had the opportunity to control the conversation to influence its outcome but they fail to take it.


The salesman in the first situation decides to leave the client looking around the shop when he could have continued the conversation. This could have led to the creation of a potentially beneficial rapport for both the client and himself.


The client would have benefited by sharing his tastes about ties with the salesman, who could have assisted him in finding the tie that best suited his needs. He would have left the store happy, not only about his purchase, but also because of the fine service he got. On the other side, the salesman would have not only made one more sale, he would have also gained a loyal customer who would have remembered him for the good service he provided.


The second situation: the restaurant chef who inadequately responds to a client having voiced his discontent can also be seen as a lost opportunity to create a lasting link and to encourage loyalty.


An appropriate answer from the chef could have been to ask for feedback or to provide more information about the general quality of the food in the restaurant. He could have also given him a discount or have offered to make him visit the kitchen. The client could have left the establishment feeling that he did matter and that he did make a difference by choosing to express his discontent.


Also, he would probably been more inclined to go back.



Both situations show us that communication skills should be put into practice in any environment to turn around a bad situation or to increase the chances of making a sale or of achieving a goal.


This also counters one of the most common misconceptions on leadership: that it is a skill limited to a few talented individuals and that it can seldom be developed.


On the contrary, leadership is a skill that can be developed and improved by any individual, whether the chef of a high end restaurant or a salesman in a tie shop, as long as there is the will to do so.


© 2011 Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

The Benefits of Collective Confidence in a Group

The differences between one team or organization and another are always surprising to notice.


Some teams are pro-active, energetic and determined while others are apathetic and seem overwhelmed by their day-to-day tasks. They give the impression that their situation is much more difficult than that of others.


But is it really? I don’t think so.


In my opinion, what differs is that some groups are able to come to terms with reality while others stay focused on what they wish it would be.


This difference can have a huge impact on the organization’s overall performance, the resulting productivity and the leadership and pro-activity of its workers. It affects the individuals within and outside the group or the organization.


A sustained collective confidence is necessary to establish innovation and adaptation within groups and organizations.


Edith Luc


© 2011. Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

Let us Observe the Shared Leadership Amongst Flocks of Migrating Snow Geese!

The autumn skies are filled with magnificent flocks of Snow Geese flying above the cities and the countryside. Travelling in groups, these birds brush their wings against the streams to form breaking waves that resemble a high and then low tide, a practice which some observers have compared to a ballet performance.


These wild geese travel a distance of between 4.000 and 8.000 km twice a year to the same destination: the American East Coast during the Winter and the Canadian Arctic in the Summer for the nesting period. A unique subspecies, the Snow Geese have also been mentioned in the historical accounts of Champlain, Jacques-Cartier and the Jesuits.


An observer can hear the Snow Geese approaching by their loud calls even before you see their distinguishing “V” formation in the sky. Trying to catch up with them would be useless as they have been known to travel as fast as 95 km per hour. In this article, I invite you to explore the possible parallels between the Snow Geese, also known as Blue Geese, and the practice of shared leadership!


One might wonder whether the “V” formation is an instinctive or intrinsic traveling strategy for the migrating Snow Geese. The birds exert an upward push by flapping their wings. The “V” formation that involves flying one bird behind the other reduces the resistance factors and subsequently permits them to optimize their flight. In the V-shaped alignment, the head goose covers the bird flying behind it and so on; resulting in the preservation of the latter’s energy. This way, the V formation reduces the required efforts for each wing flap and permits a longer gliding flight.


Henri Weimerskirch, a researcher on the subject, has observed that the Snow Goose can glide for 3 seconds when flying in a formation whereas the gliding flight would only last half a second if it was flying alone! If one of the geese was to leave the group, it would immediately feel a stronger air resistance and would have to put in much more effort to travel the same distance. The solitary goose would strongly benefit from quickly returning to the formation.


The head goose is not always in front of the formation, when it is tired another goose replaces it so that it can rest either at the back of the formation, on the ground or in a marsh. The head goose is always accompanied by others for the recuperation time before continuing the flight. The same goes for any goose that expresses the need to rest during the trip.


The migrating Snow Geese also support each other by emitting loud calls throughout the journey. Because these birds travel both day and night, their constant communications expressed throughout the entire flight can be heard at any moment of the day.


What can be learned about the practice of shared leadership through the behavioral observation of Snow Geese?

    1.There is a collective sense of achieving the mission that is shared by all members of the group.

    During springtime, the geese’s mission consists of nesting in Arctic lands; during the Winter, it consists of bringing the newborns to milder lands. The practice of shared leadership within an organization follows the same guidelines and can be described by asking the following questions: “What are we trying to accomplish as a group? What is the sense of the common mission to which we need to devote our greatest efforts?” A collective sense towards the mission is necessary for its achievement. Without this collective sense, there is the possibility that the efforts made will be devoted to achieve solitary goals and that individuals will be quickly demobilized.


    2.There is a clear expression of the potential added by each individual member’s contribution to the group.

    The collective potential of the Snow Geese is expressed through a reduction in wing flaps and a longer gliding time. The collective potential of a shared leadership group on the other hand, is expressed through results, which can be manifested by an increased overall performance, a better propensity to innovate, or a feeling of pleasure when working as a team. These results are necessary to the practice of shared or collective leadership. Without these results, there is the possibility that every individual will try to find their own comfort zone or potential to perform outside of the group. Every member of the group need to feel the increased collective efficiency that is manifested by the results achieved as a group if they are to work towards the achievement of the common mission. It is the entire group’s duty to establish a feeling of collective confidence.


    3.The replacements between the geese of the “V” formation permit them to rest and to achieve other duties.

    The leader or the figurehead of the group or organization cannot accomplish all the tasks related to the achievement of the mission alone. Sometimes, they can make a decision by themselves; other times however, the members of the group can influence the decisions being made by using their knowledge and expertise related to the subject. There is the need for more collectively produced solutions and innovations to face the increasingly complex challenges of our organizations.


    4.The constant support within the flock motivates every bird to put in its greatest effort and to persevere despite the possible obstacles such as weariness and poor climatic conditions.

    The support within the Snow Geese flocks is manifested in different ways by each of its members: some birds will accompany and stay near the tired geese, others will encourage the group with their calls, and other birds will have the duty to find food. The support within shared leadership teams is also expressed in different ways and every individual has the role of contributing to the inclusion and support of each member when needed.


    5.There are frequent and authentic communications between the geese.

    For the greatest number of workers to be involved in the practice of leadership, the quality of discussions needs to be given importance and care. There should also be an emphasis placed on direct contacts between people as opposed to exchanging information through emails. Despite the fact that organizations today have frequent communications within their teams, they rely too often on virtual communications and not enough on face-to-face discussions to circulate information and knowledge. It is important to remember that the collective mobilization of the greatest number of people through the implementation of shared leadership requires that information be shared, common and clear. These goals can only be achieved by dedicating the necessary time and by establishing authentic relations between members of the team (through phone calls and meetings for example).



The observation of the Snow Geese flocks can teach us about different types of interdependencies within a group, these include: the replacements of the head goose, the constant mutual support and a collective mobilization towards a common destination, a common mission. The shared leadership demonstrated by the Snow Geese is the reason for their accomplishment and for the incredible performance they give twice a year.


Edith Luc, Ph.D.


© 2011, Edith Luc, All Rights Reserved.

The Case of the Tourterelle School: Shared Leadership for the Achievement of Education Objectives

I recently collaborated with the Professor Huguette Drouin, Ph.D. on an article that was published in the magazine “Le Point en Administration de l’Éducation”.

It is about the positive effects and the benefits of shared leadership through its implementation in the Grade school “La Tourterelle” in Montérégie. Unfortunately, the only version available is in French. Please contact me if you wish to obtain an English version.

(You can also view the article by clicking on the following link):


L’école Tourterelle: leadership partagé pour la réussite du projet éducatif


Happy reading! Feel free to comment or ask questions.


Edith Luc


© Edith Luc, All Rights Reserved.

Voicing Your Opinion and Influencing in Group Discussions: Two Essential Leadership Qualities

I’ve recently heard CEOs and industry leaders complain about the lack of initiative from employees who should show signs of leadership. Workers’ silence during meetings and group discussions was taken to be a lack of initiative, of interest, of ability or energy for their work.


The ability to influence and to voice one’s opinion in group discussions are two essential qualities of shared and vertical leadership. The propensity or ability to voice one’s opinion does not have to do with an individual’s age, their profession or even of their or the rest of the group’s position within the organization.


The fear of speaking in a group setting can be due to an individual’s personality (they can be naturally timid or introverted). It can also be that the organization does not favor an environment where workers are encouraged to take initiative and present new ideas and new perspectives to problems and issues. According to my professional observations, the difficulty of speaking in groups and taking initiative can also be caused by a fundamental misunderstanding between the leaders’ expectations of their workers.


How can one encourage their own or another worker’s propensity to speak in groups and to better collaborate and become more involved in the practice of collective leadership?


There are actions that can be taken to develop one’s personal or a colleague’s abilities to better communicate and influence during discussions.


Here are three examples based on my own case-studies and which can help optimize the collective leadership potential of a group or organization.




Case 1: Did the cat get the consultant’s tongue?

For the past 25 years, Carol (not his real name) managed to build a profitable enterprise in the domain of agricultural production despite the many criticisms from people who tried to discourage him. Considered an important entrepreneur and leader in his field, this CEO exports most of his company’s productions to the United States and does so by employing 50 to 100 workers at different moments of the year. Carol has also dedicated a part of his time to the training and guiding of future agricultural entrepreneurs.


Recently, he has been both surprised and disappointed by one of his consultant’s continuous silence during meetings. Carol claims that this consultant’s participation during group discussions consists of listening and only expressing his opinion when is asked to do so. He is frustrated and annoyed by this worker’s silence, especially since he has over 30 years of experience in the field.


According to this CEO, a consultant in the domain of agricultural production has the responsibility to express their opinions and interests about the subjects discussed in group meetings. The least they should do is question issues that can provoke constructive interrogations from ambitious and inexperienced interns and young entrepreneurs. They should also encourage initiatives to be taken and lessons and past experiences to be shared among younger workers.


This consultant’s silence during meetings can be due to his modest and discrete personality. It can also be that he misunderstood the expectations and the negative impact of his attitude on clients and colleagues. Finally, there might also have been a misinterpretation of the importance of his role and its relationship to clients, bosses and replacements.


The same observations can be made for any junior or senior consultant in human resources, in engineering, in finance or in any domain demanding organizational and leadership skills. These abilities involve: being able to ask questions, to modestly share one’s knowledge, to validate a concept or an idea or even to propose an opinion that challenges a prevailing theory.


For the senior consultant, the same actions should be undertaken as well as the following: presenting different solutions to colleagues and clients, sharing past experiences, motivating and reminding younger workers and colleagues of the common objectives to achieve, questioning a decision, challenging the status quo or the conformism within the organization and exposing younger workers to models of inspiration.




Case 2: The shy newbie or young intern.

The second example is about a timid and modest young intern in a communications and advertising agency who, by fear that her inexperience would reflect in her opinions and questions, remains silent and is content to listen in group discussions. The intern’s boss, eager to hear her speak to understand her generation’s opinions and to hear the innovative ideas that would come from her naïve observations, was deceived by her continuous silence during meetings. He was not expecting her professional judgment to be flawless, but he was at least hoping for an interesting exchange.


The older generations of interns and apprentices were expected to learn by using their tools through observing and practicing their trade. In modern societies, communication and the observation of models are the new tools for interns and young entrepreneurs. Interns should participate actively in both formal and informal group discussions if they are to contribute to their team, organization or society’s collective leadership potential. This ability to participate in discussions is one of the intern’s main tools for learning and reflecting.


The intern or the young employee can learn to make their place within the organization even though their influence and expertise is not as strong as older and more experienced employees. They need to understand their colleagues and superiors’ expectations of their roles and responsibilities, the values of the organization and the extent of influence they should have on others. Another way for the intern or young employee to make their place in a new team or organization can be during orientations and trainings, where they can ask questions, make observations and share their needs and concerns with their new colleagues.


Any organization hoping to benefit from the intellectual resources of new employees should create a mentoring environment. The employer and older colleagues should listen to new workers and encourage them to speak and to influence others during group discussions. The new worker will quickly be encouraged if their ideas and observations are considered and integrated into solutions and strategies and if their attempts to influence are recognized and applauded by their superiors (bosses, colleagues, trainers, coaches).


At the same time, if this new worker’s ideas and perspectives are judged as unrealistic or inappropriate, their superiors should point out the stronger points of the observation and suggest ways to adjust the weaker ones. The following example demonstrates what can happen when an employee whose approaches have never been corrected from the beginning and continues working in the same company for many years.




Case 3: The sudden incompetence of a promoted employee.

This is the case of a recently promoted senior executive who, due to the challenges of his new role, is unable to influence and exert his expertise as he once was. His new position demands the ability to take different types of initiatives such as: thinking outside the box, anticipating short, middle and long term outcomes and proposing solutions and strategies instead of waiting on his superiors to delegate tasks to execute. His job before the promotion was to control and manage the circulation of administrative information and to supervise and to insure the execution of tasks delegated from higher authorities.


The newly appointed senior executive was rushed into a much more strategic and influential position. He was undergoing a cultural shock and was unable to take his place during executive meetings. His colleagues, stressed by the complexity and quick progress of challenges, were becoming increasingly impatient with his hesitations and of lack of judgment. The organization’s expectations of this worker had never been very clear and the challenges of his new position emphasized his trouble to take initiatives and to influence.


The influence within an enterprise becomes increasingly more multilateral at higher hierarchical levels (employees, clients, suppliers, partners, stakeholders) and leadership abilities become increasingly more important for those who reach these levels. The situation above could have been avoided if the worker had better understood his position’s expectations since the beginning and not only those related to his field of expertise. There should also have been more feedback and constructive criticism from the rest of the organization.



Leadership skills can be learned at every moment of an individual’s professional and personal life by developing and applying one’s leadership potential with respect to one’s abilities, interests and roles.


The organization’s personnel and leaders should also work to develop and encourage every worker’s ability to influence by pointing out and reminding them of the challenges and benefits associated to every worker’s role. The ability to reflect on situations is another important tool for the continuous development of one’s leadership skills. This includes: a retrospection of clients, of personnel, of colleagues, of employers and of experts within the organization.


The organization’s senior executives should act as mentors by explaining to workers and collaborators the norms and expectations with respect to the practice of leadership and by guiding them in the organizational environment. This can be done by many ways such as: with open and frequent discussions between members of the personnel and with feedback, reflections, training, developing programs and models.


Edith Luc


© 2011. Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

Finding Inspiration in Jack Layton’s Leadership Style: Taking Risks and Succeeding as a Team

The many expressions of sympathy in the newspapers and on television following Jack Layton’s death demonstrate that he was a man who knew how to inspire and mobilize citizens in his electoral campaigns. The Canadian community was mobilized and moved by Layton’s leadership, his political practice and even his posthumous letter.



Was it the man’s agenda, the promises he made or his past relations that influenced and charmed the public? Or was Layton’s popularity due to his leadership qualities, which should be expected from leaders in any field: CEOs, political leaders, team leaders and even family leaders?


The leadership qualities that form a successful leader are:


  • Confidence in one’s abilities, in the future and in others
  • The inclusion of others by expressing this confidence
  • Good communication skills to inspire and mobilize


These qualities can be applied and developed by those hoping to become better leaders and to increase their influence and mobilize others.


1. Confidence in one’s abilities, in the future and in others.

Jack Layton valued the democratic principle and encouraged the respect of every individual regardless of their allegiance, their social status and whether being accused and criticized by his political opponents. These values guided the political leader’s way of being, of thinking and of communicating with others.


These beliefs were also manifested in the leader’s ability to create strong ties and maintain sincere relationships with others. Nowadays, there are many politicians that have been criticized for not telling the truth and distorting reality, which creates an overall feeling of doubt towards these heads of state. One of the reasons for Jack Layton’s popularity and influence can be because he told the truth.


Layton was honest in his relations with others and remained true to his values. He also had confidence in his abilities, in the future and in others; his philosophy was to do things together. Layton’s confidence in the future can be seen in his posthumous letter:


Hope is better than fear, optimism is better than despair.


Getting inspired by Jack Layton to become a better leader.

The CEO or team leader can get inspired by Jack Layton to develop his confidence to mobilize others around a common project and to use the collective resources of every member to achieve common goals. The leader will need to identify and apply his own values and guiding principles to his decisions, the choices of his colleagues and collaborators and his way of communicating with others. He will also need to continuously develop his feeling of self-efficiency and apply it to his projects and actions. He needs to recognize the continuous need for improvement in his team or organization without demeaning his projects or his own person.


The successful leader needs to have confidence in his collaborators and share with them the information and knowledge needed with respect to: the risks, the goals, the progress and the improvements to make within the organization. By sharing information and knowledge with his colleagues, the leader demonstrates that he has confidence in their ability to find solutions to problems. If he wants to be seen as a role model, the leader needs to inspire and demonstrate self-confidence and assurance in his organization without openly talking about his feelings.


The opposite of building confidence is when the leader limits the communication with his workers and shares little or no information about problems, challenges and the current situation of the organization. An example of this is when the leader or figurehead thinks his workers lack the interest or the ability to understand the situation or problems the enterprise is facing.


The figurehead’s negative perception and lack of confidence in his workers can give them the impression of constantly being watched and can inspire them to act by fear of making mistakes or of being reprimanded. There can also be an increase in the propensity of workers to make mistakes and reduce the amount of initiatives that are taken.


The CEO who knew everything!

A few years ago, I met a CEO who was convinced that he was the best person to make decisions and that it was not necessary to tell his colleagues about the problems they were facing because he already knew the solutions and approaches to take to solve them. At the time, the company’s order book was decreasing and the current market trends determined that it would continue in the same direction.


The CEO’s closest collaborators and the company’s department leaders were not worried about the situation because they lacked information of the problem and ignored what actions to take to solve it. The CEO’s lack of confidence in his co-workers and in their ability to face reality and put forward solutions was creating an increasingly problematic situation. The CEO’s actions turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy where the best workers left the company and took with them important clients. Those who remained were less and less involved in their work and the company’s clients were dissatisfied with the increasingly poor quality of its services.


The more the collaborators and workers of an organization are trusted and given information about the situation, the problems and the risks they are facing, the more they will mobilize together and be ready to put forward the appropriate solutions. The leader’s confidence in his abilities, in the future and in others can bring better results for his organization.


2.The inclusion of others by expressing confidence.

The leader who continuously develops his confidence (in himself, in the future and in others) is more open to new perspectives, whether they differ or agree with his own. He can integrate different viewpoints in the search for solutions and knows how to utilize the abilities of his collaborators because he can listen to others without feeling threatened. The confident leader can even influence his partners to invest time and/or money in his projects because he tries to understand and value their viewpoints. The inclusion of others and their viewpoints in the achievement of a common goal or in the solving of a problem translates into the words: Together we can.


3. Developing good communication skills to inspire and mobilize.

The leader’s confidence and his desire to include different ideas and perspectives to solve common and increasingly complex challenges are manifested in the quality of his communications and of the discussions he conducts. This is done:


  • By sharing relevant information so that workers have the appropriate knowledge to make decisions and to mobilize others.
  • By soliciting and listening to others.
  • By understanding other approaches to solving problems.
  • By including diverse perspectives in decisions and solutions.
  • By putting the goal and the common good at the center of debates and of discussions.
  • And, in Jack Layton’s manner, by communicating authentically, without being pretentious or putting up fronts.



The qualities that make a successful leader: confidence, respect, inclusion of others’ opinions, communication and valuing every worker’s contribution to the achievement of the common goal and to the common good are important characteristics for those who wish to implement a shared leadership approach in any aspect of their life.


Edith Luc


© Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

Shared Leadership: An Adaptation to the Evolution of Management Styles

A CEO or team leader is constantly looking to improve their workers’ performance and increase their propensity to take initiatives. At the same time, these figureheads want to ensure a collaborative work environment, where every worker is comfortable to voice his/her ideas and perspectives on various issues, problems and the approaches to take to achieve different objectives.


The management style in organizations is constantly influenced by the socio-cultural context and by the type of industry in which it evolves. For example, the early 20th century mining industries managers treated their employees very differently than today’s CEO’s or figureheads. The management style encouraged child-labor, made workers work 12-14 hour days and permitted the hiring and firing of workers without prior notice. The social and legal context of the time allowed these actions until the revolts and revolutions and the subsequent implementation of Worker and Children Rights.


The case of the businesses of the past fifty years also demonstrates the influence of the socio-cultural context on the type of management. The working male was expected to excel not only in his work but also in his family life: he had to be a good father, to know when to punish and when to forgive and to always play an important part in the solving of problems, finding solutions and making decisions. Another example can be the first generation of consumers who did not know or understand the consequences of their excesses nor did they have the means to counter the effects.


The modern socio-cultural context has evolved once again with the most recent ways of thinking. The internet, social media and the increased access to education provides users with a new and unlimited power. Knowledge has evolved from being centralized and in the hands of a limited number of people, to being accessible to all individuals. Anybody, whether they are employees, suppliers or clients can create, discuss and get informed about any subject almost instantly. The expansion of enterprises is now determined by the collective opinion of workers; they determine whether the enterprise succeeds or fails on the market.


There are also internal factors that add to the external influences of the evolution of management styles. These include: the increasingly complex problems faced by organizations, the evolution of worker values
(i.e. the work-family equilibrium) and the ability of workers to find new solutions.
These factors require a new concept of relationships that is, a different rapport between the figureheads and the workers of a company. The model of shared leadership can serve to accommodate the new characteristics that define modern organizations.


Shared leadership is described as the implication of many and the contribution of every individual’s leadership towards to achievement of the common goals. It is a multilateral process of influence from bottom to top and vice-versa, between colleagues and through external partners of the organization (i.e. suppliers, local communities).


Edith Luc


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