Collective leadership
Collective leadership

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Collective leadership

2 Individual leadership versus collective leadership

This short animation will hopefully help you think more about what leadership really is: is it about the ‘person’ or is it about a collective ‘process’? The animation starts by looking at the heroic leaders of the past, all seen as powerful individuals, before going onto consider the idea that to achieve effective results it is often about people working together – leadership as a ‘process’ of influencing, facilitating and negotiating.

Download this video clip.Video player: leadership_two_sequence_end_front_boards.mp4
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The heroic leader-- wise, noble, charismatic. You'll find this individualistic take on leadership everywhere, from legends to Shakespeare plays to modern world history. The scene was set in Plato's Republic, which focused on the exceptional leader-- qualified, respected, and admired.
And it's an approach that's continued to this day with companies using psychometric tests to recruit the most suitable individual to lead. But this individualistic approach has been described by Alvesson and Sveningsson as narrow and leader-centric. In it, leaders are surrounded by heroic vale, romanticised as an exceptional individual capable of dazzling transformation through their vision, charisma, and convincing manner.
Collective leadership takes a far more social view. It's a shared, relational, and inclusive approach and gives team members more input and involvement. This can be a slow and time-consuming process. But, done right, it provides leaders with alternative perspectives and helps them make better informed decisions.
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Over the past decade it has been recognised in leadership literature that leadership is not just about the ‘person’, but it involves far more; it is also about process. This rest of this section considers this concept of leadership also involving the follower.


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