How to Share a Leadership Position

Co-leadership can result in creative problem-solving and wise decision-making.

But when a leadership position is shared be- tween two people, it could also lead to unhealthy competition.

if you’re co-leading a team, department, or organisation, how can you set up your partner- ship for success?

share something of yourself.

Build trust by sharing something from your professional experience, your successes and failures, or your family background to help you get to know each other on a personal level.

ask your co-leader for advice. This shows vulnerability, your receptiveness to alternative perspectives and your trust in the other person.

develop a shared ambition. initiate a conver- sation about your vision, then address any mis- alignments and work towards common ground.

establish responsibilities and a process to handle problems or disagreements.

Be thorough, even if it’s uncomfortable.

doing this work at the beginning of the rela- tionship will help you avoid a power struggle down the line.

lean on trusted people for counsel.

Find colleagues and mentors you can approach for guidance on nurturing the relationship and resolving difficult situations.

proactively support your co-leader.

speak up in meetings to publicly signal your agreement with your co-leader.

This shows others you’re working as a co- hesive unit.

* This tip is adapted from ‘How Co-Leaders Succeed’, by David Lancefield.

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