The importance of co-leadership
In my work as a consultant in various organisations - private and public - I often come into contact with the problem of leadership and communication. How do we do it in the best way? What do we need? How do we achieve the desired results where everyone feels involved?
"Co-leadership - it's obvious really and a brilliant word! The word is not in the Swedish Academy's glossary today, but something happened inside me."
I am convinced that everyone who goes to work has the will and ambition to do their best every day, that everyone wants to achieve results and contribute their expertise and commitment. Recently, a new concept emerged to describe this - the word co-leadership. Co-leadership - it's obvious really and a brilliant word! The word is not in the Swedish Academy's glossary today, but something happened inside me.
As it was described, co-leadership is "leadership where employees are involved and share responsibility" - you create a whole together. This may seem obvious to you and there is nothing new under the sun, but to me it describes exactly what I encounter in many organisations - the lack of co-leadership.
In many organisations I am confronted with "they have decided over our heads", "I don't understand how they came to this decision" or "we don't get the message across in the organisation so everyone understands". At different levels, we feel different frustrations about not having one together, not having co-leadership. The questions that arose in me were: how often is it that the structure of how we are organised puts obstacles in the way of this? Do we have a culture that supports this?
In many organisations, I am met with "they have decided over our heads", "I don't understand how they came to this decision" or "we are not getting the message across in the organisation so that everyone understands".
The key words here are trust and a supportive culture.
What would happen if we shifted the focus from managers to employees? If the manager's responsibility is to go one step further and make other people feel recognised, competent and come up with solutions? That the manager's main tasks should be coordination and being able to motivate others. This does not mean that we will not need managers, but only that the role will be slightly redefined. Co-leadership requires a basic view where I assume that everyone wants to do their best. A great inspiration here is the Swedish Tax Agency's journey that they have been on for several years. They have gone from looking for those who do not do the right thing to helping people to do the right thing. Same, same but very different ...
What would happen if we shifted the focus from managers to employees? If the manager's responsibility is to go one step further and make other people feel validated, competent and come up with the solutions?
It is particularly exciting that the formulation and thinking about co-leadership comes from the public sector. The trust delegation's presentation of leadership and co-leadership is from 2017. So we live in a country where the highest elected body in our society initiated this investigation and wants to work to strengthen trust between citizens and our system. As co-leadership is about responsibility starting with the citizen, it is about you and me and all of us. How good are you at creating trust and motivation around you at work? What issues do you have to lead and be responsible for and what issues do you need to co-lead? These questions apply to everyone regardless of their role. When we can meet in this and have the tools to develop ourselves and each other, we create a better performing organisation.
Want to know more about the trust delegation; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZNPcAaGMCs