The usual and customary model of an identified leader directing a project is not always the most elegant or effective approach. Oftentimes, a shared leadership model may work better to achieve a project’s desired objectives, providing greater opportunity for a common, shared sense of responsibility and investment.
Food for Thought ~
This type of participative leadership is actually more challenging and complex, which is probably why it is less often utilized. It requires a strong spirit of collaboration and cooperation, excellent listening and communication skills, and a willingness to commit to the process itself, without attachment to a specific predetermined outcome. In the dictionary, the eighth definition of a little word with multiple and varied meanings is the term I have chosen to describe this model. The word is “jam,” defined as “to extemporize with others.” We have all heard of jazz musicians “jamming,” where they play together without a predetermined song, carefully listening to one another and taking turns doing solos, all the while cooperatively and extemporaneously creating a harmonious and pleasing musical experience. I have seen the word “jam” applied to other collective activities as well ~ a cappella singing jam, dance jam, and sculpture jam. As these examples illustrate, the concept is most familiar in the creative arts, but I think it applies quite nicely to project management. Let the creative leadership jams begin!
Question for the day ~
Are you an artful user of leadership jamming? How and when might you increase others’ commitment and investment by utilizing the concepts and skills of shared leadership?
On a Personal Note ~
Your many kind responses to my guest editorial last week, written by my eldest niece, Karen, were heart-warming and much appreciated – thank you!