Fostering Shared Leadership in Teams

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JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Amelie Grille of Braunschweig University of Technology. Dr. Grille recently published an article with Eva-Maria Schulte and Simone Kauffeld, also of Braunschweig University of Technology, in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Promoting Shared Leadership: A Multilevel Analysis Investigating the Role of Prototypical Team Leader Behavior, Psychological Empowerment, and Fair Rewards.”]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Ample empirical evidence exists that shared leadership is able to increase team performance. We were interested in exploring how shared leadership in teams can be facilitated in order to provide practitioners wishing to advance team performance with information about how to foster shared leadership in their teams. So our research was stimulated by the aim to help practitioners to make use of a concept that has previously been proven to be successful in recent research findings.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

We were surprised to find that traditional forms of leadership, that is, leadership through one leading individual, could foster shared leadership behaviors within the team but that this only happened under certain circumstances: Only as long as team members felt that their leader was representative of the team in terms of representing the team’s values and characteristics, they engaged in the same leadership behavior as their leader. As expected, shared leadership could further be fostered through empowering and rewarding team members.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

The results from our study indicate that empowering and rewarding individuals can help to foster shared leadership in teams. In addition, our results indicate that the role of formally appointed leaders may swift away from being responsible for actually leading the team more towards taking a coaching role demonstrating important leadership behaviors which can hence be picked up by team members. Meanwhile, our findings also point towards the importance that those team leaders should be aware of representing and living up to those values and characteristics their team members identify with in order to facilitate learning processes.

One direction for future research is to explore at what stage of team development individuals with a formal leading role are particularly influential and important for facilitating shared leadership within the team. This would help to understand when team leaders should particularly be conscious of their role as models for team members and should be encouraged to focus on spending their time with the team to reflect on effective leadership behaviors.

You can read “Promoting Shared Leadership: A Multilevel Analysis Investigating the Role of Prototypical Team Leader Behavior, Psychological Empowerment, and Fair Rewards” for free in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


grilleAmelie Grille is a research associate at the Department of Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany. Her research interests include teamwork, leadership and the development and evaluation of human resource practices.

eva mariaEva-Maria Schulte is a research associate at the Department of Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany. In her research she particularly focusses on teamwork (i.e., processes taking place in team meetings and team leadership), employee wellbeing and coaching.

kauffeldSimone Kauffeld is a full professor for Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology and vice-president for teaching, studies and further education at Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany. She also owns the business consultancy 4A-SIDE GmbH which belongs to the university. Her main research foci are team interaction, competence management and development, coaching, and leadership. In cooperation with medium and large sized companies she has conducted multiple studies on these topics.

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