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Mayes Wilson & Associates

5 steps to build shared leadership

Sara Wilson, CPCC, ACC | 

Last week’s post listed 5 benefits of shared leadership and 5 questions to determine if you’re modeling shared leadership.

In case you’re not clear, shared leadership “involves maximizing all of the human resources in an organization by empowering individuals and giving them an opportunity to take leadership positions in their areas of expertise,” according to Marshall Goldsmith, who teaches executive education at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

To continue the thread, this week I discuss 5 steps to building shared leadership in your organization and share examples from the field to get you started.


  1. Assess the culture of your organization. Where do you see shared leadership? Is it valued? If there is no shared leadership, and if you aren’t the boss, you’ll want to have conversations about how shared leadership might benefit your organization and about the challenges.
  2. Coach the team on how to build shared leadership. Start with the group defining what shared leadership means. What current structures support or undermine shared leadership; what should you keep and what will be re-imagined?
  3. Help the team practice decision-making. Factors that come into play are individual communication styles, attitudes, decision making processes, and priorities.
  4. Coach the team on how it will disagree and how/if it will value difference of opinion.
  5. Set team goals and measure team performance. We are accustomed to measuring individual performance; if we really want to promote team work, we need to measure how the team performs.


  • Strategic planning: Design your planning process so that the board and executive and/or staff are engaged intentionally in the process.
  • Annual planning: Involve the whole team. Start by asking who should be working together (rather than who is) when developing annual goals. Identify team goals and measure of success in addition to individual goals.
  • Staff meetings: Several of MWA’s executive clients routinely rotate the planning and leading of staff meetings.

These ideas are simple, but shared leadership is so much more than these ways to start. Shared leadership requires intentionality, discussion and a commitment to the “greater good.” Shared leadership puts the mission first, rather than star status or the indispensability of any one individual.

Need help creating shared leadership? We can coach you and lead your team through the process. Call or email me sara@mayeswilsonassociates.com for a complimentary consultation.

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