What is Distributed Leadership?

Professor Alma Harris, Distributed leadership

Key concepts of distributed leadership

Here are some of the key aspects of distributed leadership:

1. Autonomy

With distributed leadership, the concept of a leader is no longer limited to a single person or position but rather becomes an expected behavior for everyone in the organization. Businesses that use distributed leadership expect their employees to contribute their own original ideas to the team in order to drive success.

To do this, leaders are empowered to take charge and try out novel ideas without seeking the approval of their immediate superiors. It is believed that those who are closest to the issue can find a solution because they have a vested interest in seeing their field of expertise succeed.

2. Accountability

Using distributed leadership doesnt erase the need for overall guidance. However, senior management must assume accountability for enabling their leaders to experiment and fail, to pose and address issues and to pursue novel concepts.

As leaders work together to achieve a shared objective of making their organization the best it can be, accountability is shared between them. Since they have the autonomy to make their own decisions, leaders in this model are also expected to accept accountability for their work and actions.

3. Capacity

The single leader approach, which holds that all ideas originate from one person or level and that everyone else must contribute to realizing that vision, is changed by distributed leadership. Instead, those who possess the necessary skills and knowledge are welcomed to share ideas at any level.

Leaders must have the resources to produce in order to contribute. This means distributed leaders need access to funds and materials. They should be given the tools they need to build and maintain momentum in their work. Giving leaders the ability to lead entails putting money into their education and providing them with the resources they need to be productive.

4. Coaching

The concept of consistently developing new leaders is one of the key differences between traditional leadership and the distributed method. Since this model of leadership is meant to be shared, one of a leader’s responsibilities is to help others develop these traits. One way to distribute leadership in an organization is to recognize and support those who exhibit leadership qualities. In this way, leaders act as coaches to assist others in developing.

5. Reflection and Feedback

In the distributed model, leaders need time to pause and consider the work they’ve done. The ability to evaluate one’s own procedures is a requirement for leaders in distributed leadership in order to maintain autonomy and accountability. For both new and seasoned leaders, team discussions about problem-solving, success, and failure are all an important part of the learning process. In this model, all team members are encouraged to provide feedback.

6. Shared responsibility

Distributed leadership focuses on sharing responsibility rather than delegating. Teams with subject expertise collaborate to accomplish goals rather than having an authority figure delegate work to those under their supervision. Those in positions of authority assist in upholding the organization’s overall vision and goals, allowing those closest to the day-to-day operations of a company, institution, or agency to make choices that have an impact on their work.

What is distributed leadership

A novel idea in leadership structure called “distributed leadership” can be used in any type of organization. Distributed leadership shifts a top-down leader approach to a more connected team model in institutions like schools and businesses. The objective of distributed leadership is to develop more leaders who apply their knowledge to advance the objectives of the company. Decisions are made by those in distributed leadership positions on the basis of responsibility and mutual trust.

This method of leadership is team-based, and it allows for flexible and fluid leadership within the company. If a team member has the necessary expertise to add to a project, they may be promoted to the position of leader. Instead of giving tasks from an authority to a worker in a lower-level position, leaders can be established within a smaller community to serve as central guides to foster an environment of shared accountability.

Why is distributed leadership important?

When a company or educational institution decides to employ the distributed leadership method, they are fostering an atmosphere where people are empowered to contribute to the organization’s bigger objectives. Here are the ways distributed leadership can impact an organization:

Every team member is given a voice

Distributed leadership organizations value the opinions and suggestions of all stakeholders. Since leadership is shared, all are welcome to participate if they have something to say that benefits the community as a whole. There is no hesitation in expressing an idea, and other members are similarly open to suggestions.

Innovation is encouraged

This style of leadership enables team members to find a solution using various creative techniques while keeping the “how we get there” open. In an organization, those closest to the problem come up with solutions rather than someone who is not involved in the day-to-day operations of a particular field of expertise.

It cultivates more leaders

Distributed leadership means dividing the responsibilities among multiple leaders. In order to maintain the organization’s shared structure, current leaders are urged to coach and develop new ones. More of a characteristic or skill than a job title within the organization, leadership is viewed. People in the organization think that anyone can develop their leadership skills.

Teamwork and mutual accountability matter

Distributed leadership gives workers the chance to collaborate to achieve the objectives of the company in today’s workplace where people are expected to complete complex tasks that call for communication and a variety of skill sets. Those working on a project are invested in the success of the final product and in what they learn as they go because they are involved in the process.


What is distributive leadership model?

Leaders in a school need to be given the freedom to make important decisions in their areas of responsibility as part of a distributed leadership approach. The aforementioned goal of empowering leaders and giving them ownership of their work depends on achieving this autonomy.

What are the characteristics of distributed leaders?

The following are essential qualities and behaviors of this type of distributed leadership:
  • Constructive dissatisfaction with current best practices. the desire to act in order to achieve ground-breaking results
  • Intentional risk taking. …
  • Failure-inspired learning. …
  • Outcome orientation. …
  • Sharing knowledge.

Why is distributed leadership good?

Decision-making responsibilities are shared thanks to a distributed leadership team approach. This makes it possible for staff to work quickly without being dependent on a single person. The second adverse effect is that the scope of educational advancement becomes overly limited.

What is distributed leadership in business?

Distributed leadership means dividing the responsibilities among multiple leaders. In order to maintain the organization’s shared structure, current leaders are urged to coach and develop new ones. More of a characteristic or skill than a job title within the organization, leadership is viewed.

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