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.
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