Distributed Leadership (DL) is primarily concerned with mobilising leadership at all levels across the organisation rather than relying on leadership at the top, or the trickle down leadership model employed by the majority of organisations.
The trickle down leadership model is hierarchical in nature which reinforces the view that knowledge and future planning trickle down from the ?top? leaders or managers of the organisation, and that leaders as individuals (depicted as being 'at the apex of the triangle 'or 'on top of the hill') set the tone and are responsible for making all the key decisions. These leaders are seen as acting as ﬁgureheads, for others (depicted as ?followers?) to look up to and to follow (MacBeath 1998; Pearce and Manz 2005). This is in contradiction to research whoch suggests that single individuals lack the kind of overall influence to all members of the organisation. (Thorpe et al. 2007). In fact, some CEO's may have little to modest direct impact on the frontline operators of an organisation. The strongest players in their circle of influence are the direct leaders, peers and direct reports.
SO, what does this mean?
It means treating all team members of an organisation as experts in their areas of work and harnessing their self-leadership skills, their ability to influence others and their technical knowledge. This does not mean distributing the responsibility for the decision making process, or the vision of the organisation, though gives all team members an opportunity to contribute at level of the organisation. It is theorised that the results create an improvement in efficiency and/or productivity at all levels. This encourages and promotes the vision for the future to be implemented in a more comprehensive and effective way. Under the DL Model, everyone is responsible and accountable for leadership within their area of work, which greatly impacts productivity and morale.
In each of the companies Coaching College has worked with using the DL model, The Lead Principle?, there has been a measurable increase in performance and retention.