A recent Management Today article said that Leadership development is stuck in the dark ages. A key reason for this is a lack of flexibility in moving to a collective leadership model:
There is a transition occurring from the old paradigm in which leadership resided in a person or role, to a new one in which leadership is a collective process that is spread throughout teams and networks of people.
Collective leadership is particularly suited to very large organisations that act more like business ecosystems than single entities.
In the technology and professional services world, collective leadership also makes sense. One person cannot be expert in everything.
The Kings Fund has published a paper, for example, on the need to develop collective leadership within health care. They describe collective leadership as follows:
Collective leadership entails distributing and allocating leadership power to wherever expertise, capability and motivation sit within organisations.
One of the key skills of a collective leader, someone usually without the necessary command and control clout, is to influence and persuade colleagues to act in a certain way and develop in a certain direction.
A key approach to achieve collective leadership is success tracking.
Success tracking entails helping people track their own journey to success, and at the same time influencing the definition of what success looks like – perfect for collective leaders.
One of the interesting aspects (and challenges) of collective leadership is that aspiring leaders using social media can be very influential in directing the organisation.
I’ve seen a junior partner launch a success tracking program at a top consulting firm which other partners have then signed up to. They are tracking their success according to the scoring rules set by the junior partner. Most interestingly, this unsanctioned success tracking program has had much much higher engagement than the original formal tracking and development program. Indeed it has now been brought into the fold as part of the formal social media success tracking offered to partners.
The challenge for those looking to develop organisation leaders is then to spot those who are already leading and support their development.
What better way to do this than to introduce the success tracking approach into your leadership development curriculum?