Leadership and organizational performance are strongly connected. While it's possible to succeed in business when leadership is lacking, this aspect can affect employee well-being, communication and management. As a business owner, it's your responsibility to be the best leader you can be and create a company culture that delights customers and engages employees. A growing number of managers are adopting the collegial leadership style to accomplish these goals, but is it really the best choice?

What Is Collegial Leadership?

Collegial-style management is based on the premise that some or all members of an organization should participate in decision making and share the power. Employees and stakeholders are encouraged to share their opinions, engage in debates and reach an agreement based on common values. Leaders, on the other hand, need to be able to build and maintain relationships with individuals who may have different perspectives, backgrounds and goals.

The collegial model of educational management promotes collaboration and participation. It's characterized by shared leadership, shared values and shared decision making. Unlike traditional leadership styles, which tend to be vertical and hierarchical, this leadership model is more lateral or horizontal. Basically, all stakeholders have the right to make decisions and get actively involved in the company's management.

Those who embrace this leadership style believe that problems and solutions should be discussed. They are not afraid to ask for a second opinion and hear what others have to say. Leaders and employees work together as a team to identify and overcome challenges, accomplish the company's goals and help each other succeed in their roles. Like everything else, though, this management style has its downsides and may not work for every organization or team.

Limitations of Collegial Leadership

The freedom of decision making that defines this management style doesn't always have a positive outcome. First of all, it may lead to conflict and disagreements, which in turn can slow down the company. This scenario is more likely to occur when the stakeholders involved in decision making are authoritative or highly competitive individuals. Furthermore, collegial leadership may not be the best option for large organizations because the teams need to be small enough to ensure that everyone is heard.

In general, decision making tends to be slow and time consuming in companies that embrace this leadership model. Employees are required to attend lengthy meetings and engage in endless debates. Additionally, some participants may display hostility or lack of interest, which can affect collaboration and teamwork. Meetings and discussions can degenerate a negotiating process and spiral out of control.

Everyone's opinions, ambitions and personal values are taken into consideration. Problems arise when there are major differences between participants. Let's say you're planning to invest in the company's IT department, so you discuss this aspect with your team. Some employees insist that you purchase new hardware, such as computers and audio-visual equipment, while others want to have access to the latest software. You listen to what everyone has to say and consider both points of view, but you can't reach a consensus.

Common Implementation Challenges

The collegial management style looks good on paper, but it's difficult to implement in real life. In addition to these challenges, it may affect a company's performance and productivity. Giving your employees equal rights in the decision-making process could undermine your role as a leader. For example, you may find it difficult to push your staff when productivity decreases or things need to be improved.

Firing and laying off people will become more difficult too, especially if you have a strong relationship with your staff members. A manager who maintains a more distant relationship with his team is less likely to encounter these issues.

This leadership style is based on the assumption that people who participate in decision making will take responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Your employees may end up blaming each other back and forth, which can affect the organization as a whole. At the end, the effectiveness of this leadership model depends largely on the attitudes of the staff.