Co-Active Leadership is a shared-leadership approach used to deliver coach training workshops. With two leaders concurrently delivering the training program, this provided an ideal opportunity to explore a practical application of shared leadership. This presentation summarised doctoral research related to volatility of this form of leadership sharing.
Applying a phenomenological approach, semi-structured were conducted with 18 participants, six assistants and four leaders providing a rich data-set to explore the emergent models of Co-Active Leadership. Analysis provided insights into when this form of leadership was working, when it was not, and the triggers inhibiting its effectiveness.
When it was working, Co-Active Leadership was seen to be rich, powerful, engaging and supportive of growth. When it wasn’t, there was an increased cognitive and emotional effort, selection of preferred leaders, and a loss of safety and learning. Three triggers were identified leading to the dissolution of effective shared leadership relating to the vertical or horizontal separation, or the presence of ego in one or both leaders.
This research supports a greater understanding of shared leadership dynamics by showing how it falls apart, helping to both prevent and recover co-leadership. It extends research into when and how shared forms of leadership can be successful.