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Developing a Workplace Team Where Everyone’s a Leader

Written by Featured Organization on 07 August 2010.

As leaders struggle with growing pressures in today’s fast-paced workplace, a change is being made in the way leadership responsibilities are distributed within organizations. One SIOP leader says shared team leadership is the new approach that is influencing the way team members operate to their full potential.

As SIOP Fellow J. Richard Hackman, Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University, explains, “The heroic single leader is no longer congruent with the burdening demands of today’s leadership.” 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.

Hackman will elaborate on the concept of shared team leadership during his keynote presentation at this year’s Leading Edge Consortium (LEC), October 22-23 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

“The most i mportant 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.”

At the LEC, Hackman will explain how to create this type of environment as well as identify conditions for team leadership to flourish, the challenges one may face when trying to obtain shared team leadership, and how to overcome those challenges.

Leading Edge Consortium LEC

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.

The Orpheus Orchestra has sometimes been described in the press as “leaderless,” but as Hackman explained, this is actually untrue. The 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 explained. “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.”

Hackman will discuss how organizations can utilize the strengths of their teams using shared team leadership during his keynote presentation at the Leading Edge Consortium.

Registration for the LEC is $425 on or before August 28, 2010. After the early registration deadline, the fee is $495. Register at For more information, including a complete list of speakers and abstracts, visit the SIOP website, or go directly to

For further information: Dr. Richard Hackman is available for interviews via phone, e-mail or in person before, during and after the Leading Edge Consortium.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is an international group of more than 8,000 industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists whose members study and apply scientific principles concerning workplace productivity, motivation, leadership and engagement.  •

SIOP’s mission is to enhance human well-being and performance in organizational and work settings by promoting the science, practice and teaching of I-O psychology. For more information about SIOP, including a Media Resources service, which lists nearly 2,000 experts in more than 100 topic areas, visit •