Trends to watch: A growth in co-leadership

One advantage of our breadth as an organisation is our ability to pick up emerging trends. One trend we’re watching and coaching with interest is a spike in the number of organisations that either have, or are entertaining, a Co-CEO leadership model. 

It’s a trend that’s not just occurring in Australia, but in the United States and elsewhere too. Our experience is that it is the result of an interesting cross-section of drivers. Some of these are pragmatic – women in particular (but not exclusively) are seeking to balance big jobs and visions, with family and other responsibilities. Across the sector, we see bandwidth being stretched to near breaking point. Add in a post-COVID world and there is an appetite and willingness to consider new levels of flexibility and so the door has been pushed ajar for co-leadership.

But to stop there is to miss a richer zeitgeist. Co-leadership is part of a wider recognition of the value of distributed leadership and of the ways in which our organisations are able to ‘get things done’ only in partnership. To stop that partnership at the door of our organisations, is striking some leaders as naive. They are exploring how co-leadership embeds shared leadership in structure, which enables leaders more leverage as they grapple with complexity and systems change. It is a complement to high performing teams.

It’s not just at the CEO level either. We’re seeing a growing interest in co-lead models at the team leader level, and at the Chair level. As we support these partnerships, we’re actively collecting data on what drives the success of these models, the variability in how they are approached, and how this learning can be shared amongst leaders.

If you’re interested in joining one of our Learning Circles around this let us know, and make sure you follow us on LinkedIn as we share resources.

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