Shared Leadership Model Resources
We're often asked by organizations undergoing leadership transitions about shared leadership models. While shared leadership is not a new concept, we have noticed increased interest of late, especially in nonprofit organizations wanting to move away from a hierarchical leadership structure and towards one that distributes leadership responsibilities across two or more roles. Below are some resources we have found helpful to organizations having conversations about whether and how to move towards a shared leadership model, as well as conversations about how to make a shared leadership model work.
Key Questions about Shared Leadership
There are at least three key questions to grapple with when considering or moving towards a shared leadership model. The below articles touch on these questions to help as you navigate conversations around shared leadership.
Question One: How do we know if a shared leadership model is right for our organization?
There is a lot to consider when coming to this decision, and the conversations should include an objective analysis of the pros and cons aided by gathering input from those most impacted by the model, including the the board, staff, and sometimes external stakeholders. Entering into the discussion with an open mind (no foregone conclusions!) also helps.
Question Two: How can we structure the shared-leadership model for success?
This is one of the most important questions to answer and will look different for every organization. Adjusting roles and responsibilities, organizational structures, reporting procedures, internal operations, etc before bringing on a new leader or transitioning existing leaders into co-leadership roles allows your leadership to start off on the right foot.
Question Three: How do we transition to a shared leadership model?
This includes being planful and patient - allowing space for questions and concerns, planning internal and external communications, planning for a search if needed, and onboarding your new co-leaders.
Articles and Resources
Bridgespan, March 2022: Three Nonprofits Share Their Approaches to Co-Leadership
Change Elemental, January 2019: Reflecting on Three Years of Shared Leadership
Nonprofit Quarterly, April 2018: Doing More with More: Putting Shared Leadership into Practice
CompassPoint, March 2017: 5 Insights From Directors Sharing Power