Share, Don’t Take the Lead

Craig L. Pearce, Deloitte Leadership Institute, Ozyegin University
Charles C. Manz, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Henry P. Sims Jr, University of Maryland-College Park

Published 2014

Share, Don’t Take the Lead is a book that offers an alternative perspective on leadership. The philosophy of shared leadership is straightforward: Leadership does not derive solely from position, authority, or hierarchy. Instead, leadership is something that can be executed by anyone who has the best knowledge or skill to undertake the leadership necessary in any given situation. Shared leadership is especially relevant, for example, in empowered teams where shared leadership can be initiated from any team member at any time, depending on the needs of the moment and the capabilities of the individuals. But the notion of shared leadership is also appropriate in a larger context. For example, an individual lower in the hierarchy can provide leadership if that person is best qualified to exercise it. Shared leadership also shows how hierarchical leaders with formal authority can use empowerment to develop leadership in others. This book tells the tales of how multiple trail blazing organizations used shared leadership to build high performance.

The notion of shared leadership seems to contradict many of the bedrock ideas of efficient management and effective organizations. A typical first reaction is, “It’ll never work here!” Yet, the organizations that “get it” and implement this new powerful approach tend to be more innovative and to out-perform their “nay-sayer” competitors. In fact, shared leadership is one of the most important ideas to hit business in recent years—our recent feature article about shared leadership in the Wall Street Journal is testimony to that. Shared leadership can provide a way for companies to increase productivity, quality, and flexibility while meeting the competitiveness challenge. Share the Lead provides new insights and information about how to push the organizational envelope to new frontiers.

Acknowledgements. Introduction to Shared Leadership, Craig L. Pearce and Charles C. Manz. Section I: Rotated Shared Leadership. Alcoholics Anonymous Paves the Road to Recovery with Shared Leadership, Zac Henson, Craig L. Pearce, and Charles C. Manz. University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center Rotates Shared Leadership in Crisis Situations, Depending on Skill Level and Crisis Severity, Henry P. Sims, Jr., Samer Faraj, Seokhwa Yun, and Craig L. Pearce. Section II: Integrated Shared Leadership. From Palm Pilot to Smartphone with Shared Leadership as the Glue that Binds Serial Entrepreneurs, Ronald M. Baglio, Jai Gupta, and Charles C. Manz. The Sky is the Limit for Shared Leadership at Southwest Airlines, Craig L. Pearce. Section III: Distributed Shared Leadership. Creating Shared Leadership in Afghanistan with School Management Committees (SMCs), Habibullah Wajdi and Charles C. Manz. Megachurches May Be Raised on Charisma but They Are Sustained on Shared Leadership, Scott Thumma, Charles C. Manz, and Karen P. Manz. The Alcoa Experience of Shared Virtual Leadership through Parallel Global Teams, John Cordery, Christine Soo, Bradley Kirkman, Benson Rosen, John Mathieu, and Henry P Sims, Jr. Section IV: Comprehensive Shared Leadership. Herman Miller Furniture Uses Shared Leadership to Build Positive Values and Creativity, Stephen Adams, Frank Shipper, Karen P. Manz, and Charles C. Manz. W. L. Gore & Associates Has Created an Entire Shared Leadership Culture, Frank Shipper, Greg L. Stewart, and Charles C. Manz. Shared Leadership in a High Growth Environment: Realizing the American Dream at Panda Restaurant Group, Michelle C. Bligh and Craig L. Pearce. Concluding Thoughts on Shared Leadership, Craig L. Pearce and Charles C. Manz.