New Shared Leadership vs. Traditional Autocratic Leadership

I have recently read a book by Linda Gross Cheliotes and Marceta Fleming Reilly. The title is, Coaching Conversations, Transforming Your School One Conversation at a Time. The book is filled with great strategies and suggestions that could enhance your skills as a leader.

The focus of my blog is the chapter on leadership. The main points of the authors are comparing more traditional models of leadership with a new model. The old leadership model assumes leaders are experts and will direct others. They keep control and only work with certain people that have the skills to get the job done. If the job is completed well, the employee is praised, if not the employee is blamed. As a result, the leader does not own the failure. The upside is that this model of leadership is efficient and follows the thinking and philosophy of the leader. The downside is that it creates a culture of competition among employees that are selected to handle the task. There is a good chance that the culture becomes more individualized than team oriented. The new leadership model is based on the premise that the leader does not know all of the answers. The leader asks more questions and listens to the discussion and the themes that emerge. This leadership model encourages input from many people and as a result , it is the group that determines the future direction and plan. The group creates the success and collaboration becomes the norm. The challenge is the process may take more time to implement a change in the organization.

I have worked for leaders that used both models in their leadership styles. I prefer the new or shared leadership model. The importance of having more ideas and thoughts on the table help to build ownership. The open discussion of different strategies can lead the organization to consider all of the options and not just the opinions of a chosen few. As a result, a culture of healthy tension can develop between staff members which can ensure an atmosphere of continuous improvement. This model is more about respect and team building. As Ken Blanchard says,  “None of us is as smart as all of us”.

What do you think?

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