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It is very simple: Leaders lead. But should they?
In this pressure-laden, fast-paced workplace that safety and security professionals walk into every day, change is in the air in the distribution of leadership responsibilities within organizations.
Shared team leadership is the new approach influencing the way team members operate to their full potential.[private]
“The heroic single leader is no longer congruent with the burdening demands of today’s leadership,” said J. Richard Hackman, Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University and a fellow at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Fortunately, he said, scholars and practitioners are recognizing that a shift is taking place within the workforce from traditional solo team leadership to shared team leadership.
“The most important conditions for effective shared team leadership include a team that is a mature and reasonably bounded group,” Hackman said. “They must know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to identify who to go to for specific tasks. The second condition is being interdependent on one another for some specific shared purpose or goal.”
Hackman has been researching teamwork for several decades and, over the past 10 years, this research has evolved into a focus of shared team leadership. He has drawn his conclusions about shared team leadership from research on intelligence analysis teams, patient care teams, top management teams, and a study of the Orpheus Orchestra.
Hackman said the Orpheus Orchestra gives all members the opportunity to lead, thereby providing more leadership than one sees in traditional conductor-led ensembles.
“Research has shown that shared team leadership is like an audio amplifier,” Hackman said. “If you have really effective shared leadership, so much more is possible, but it can also generate negative results if not used under the right conditions.”[/private]

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