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Distributed Leadership: Leadership of the Future

 

PAUL NYAUSARU AND CHIEDZA KADARE

For generations, the majority of organizations relied on traditional hierarchies.

A chain of command in which only those at the top made decisions.

However as we move into the future, transformational organizations are having a relook into the way they lead organizations. This has resulted in them adopting new ways of leadership, one of them being the distributed leadership approach. Ever head of this approach to leadership? Worry not as our edition for this week will unpack what this leadership style is all about.

What then is distributed leadership? In the book: Navigating the Swirl-7 Crucial Conversations for Business Transformation by Richard Hawkes, Penny Pennington clearly articulated distributed leadership as spreading decision making out across a number of groups. This means seeking to put decision closest to where value is created. He asserts that this approach create a team based way of working that is supported by functional areas and is fueled by distributed intelligence and innovation.

The distributed leadership approach is a sure way of empowering different leaders leading in different identified groups within the organization to solve challenges faced closer to where action is taking place. In order for this approach to bear the desired fruits, there is no doubt that a high level of trust among the team is required.

What then are some of the benefits of distributed leadership?

 

  • It allows people to take ownership of their works

By giving decision-making power to identified team members with leadership potential, it give them a sense of freedom which allows them to take responsibility for their work. And it’s a human tendency when they are clear about their area of responsibility, they use their full creativity and experience to complete that work. Along with that, it encourages more productivity and creates greater commitment levels, which leads to a long-term increase in employee performance.

 

  • Provides Promotion Opportunities

When authority is vested in one person, it becomes a barrier others to exhibit their talents. It hinders other capable team members with potential to earn a promotion or some kind of upward movement. This becomes a de-motivator since nobody wants to be in the same position for a long time period.

 

Distributed leadership allows team members to make improvements using different innovative methods. The objective of the organization might be the same but the methods for reaching that objective will always vary. So distributing leadership at different levels will bring in ideas from different ones in leadership positions.

Distributed leadership is indeed the leadership of the future. It is tried and tested and forward looking organizations are adopting this style and posed for sustainable growth.

 

Chiedza Kadare is an OD Practitioner. You can get in touch with her on WhatsApp/call +263 77 283 0986 or Email [email protected]

Paul Nyausaru is an OD Practitioner and leadership coach. For all your OD interventions and leadership development training you can get in touch with him on WhatsApp/call +263774062756 or Email [email protected]

 


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