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The incomplete leader: In praise of co-leadership

Whisper it carefully: I don’t really believe in ‘The Leader’. I believe in leadership, yes, ideally distributed and aligned behind a common agreed purpose rather than a person. But leadership embodied in one person – The Leader – only means one thing to me. I used to be a historian. Work it out.

So, I like Pat Ballin’s piece on co-leadership over in The Leadership Hub. Pat kicks off his piece by citing Senge and Co’s paper in the HBR in 2007 ‘In Praise of The Incomplete Leader’.

He could do with some examples of complementary leadership teams and David Straker chips in with Hewlett & Packard as one example.

Pat goes on to suggest this co-leadership coda:

High Shared Power/High Shared Trust = Co-leadership
High Shared Power/Low Shared Trust = Power-Sharing
Low Shared Power/High Shared Trust = Good Deputy
Low Shared Power/Low Shared Trust = Factotum

Co-leadership is an interesting form of leadership. But, what really interests me about it is how it breaks the core myth of leadership – that you have to have a single leader at the top, and that leadership somehow emanates from that person.

You can read more from Pat and David on co-leadership here .


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