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The Importance of Shared Leadership in an Age of Remote Working
- by Piyali Maity



In the digital age, boundaries have disappeared. Previous structural boundaries of different functions are dissolving rapidly, and it is common to see organizations moving from an individual leadership model to a collective leadership model. Today, leadership is more distributed and shared.

While this shift in leadership models is not easy, research has shown that the shared leadership has a positive impact on the productivity of the organization. Shared leadership cascades leaders across all levels, making every employee empowered. The ability to collaborate and take decisions related to their domain, allows for an open-door policy and everyone's opinion or ideas are given a fair consideration. When individuals feel that they have some impact on the organization, they are encouraged and motivated to work harder as they are personally invested. The key factors that influence these thought are transparency and supporting autonomy. A shared leadership model supports and encourages these factors.

The shared leadership model is of critical importance in today's times. Due to the Covid-19 situation, the Work from Home (WFH) concept has got increased attention. As many as 88 per cent of employees in India favour working from home while 69 per cent of them believe their efficiency and productivity has increased while working remotely. The findings were deduced in a survey conducted by SAP Concur, an expense management firm.

That said, WFH is not entirely new. In the last couple of years, almost 60% companies had people working from remote locations which started to increase till 2019. The on demand for freelancers and contractual workers made WFH a popular choice. Research also shows that the remote workers model has lesser attrition rate and increased productivity.

Benefits of shared leadership

The shared leadership concept allows everyone to be a leader, and draws upon the collective experience of many people, rather than rely on a few. The leadership role belongs to everyone, and depending on the situation, different leaders can emerge.

Some of the key benefits of shared leadership include:

  • Employees feel more passionate and responsible if their voice or opinion is heard or recognized
  • A culture of inclusive leadership is created which can be a big catalyst for organizational growth
  • Employees feel empowered and confident to take decisions
  • Different leaders can be identified which strengthens the organization in the long run
  • Democratization of leadership helps in organizations running themselves without much interference and monitoring

Today, our working styles are changing. Advances in communication technology mean that companies are now able to expand faster. The team is the same, working on the same projects but instead of being in the same office, they are now in different parts of the world, perhaps in a different time zone.  While on the positive side, this means a lot of flexibility, but on the flip side, the major challenge is to manage people. It also requires managing people who you have never really met and may be from a different culture, language and may have a completely different personality.

A shared leadership model can be very effective in the WFH scenario, as it cultivates and encourages a culture where people feel empowered to take initiatives. This concept also ensures that every team members contributes to the overall success of the group or company, and can potentially take the company to a higher level of performance.

Piyali Maity, AVP Counseling Operations at 1to1help.net

1to1help.net will be organizing a webinar on 30th January, 2021 where industry experts would discuss how HR needs to design the new age organization. How shared leadership can play a role and practical ideas will also be deliberated at the webinar.

Register now: https://assochamindia.webex.com/assochamindia/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1a6d37c3624053f321c0793d5d00adb6



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