Tweak Your Biz » Management » Sharing the way

Sharing the way

Describing a “what is Leadership?” can prove a challenge for a great many organisations.  Unfortunately nowadays, leaders are expected to lead without ever being afforded the time to investigate what it means to lead.

Is leadership a about the result? Is it more to do with the process? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It is a complex subject matter and one in which we all have a personal take.


Looking at history books can sometimes only add to our confusion, while there are similarities, there are often stark contrast in how the great leaders did their thing. While there is of course merit in the exercise, we sometimes forget to also look forward and envisage how the role of leading may evolve.

The collaborative approach is now the name of the game for a great many businesses. I have sometimes heard collaboration downtrodden by those who perceive it to be fashionable or populist, but with respects this is kind of just missing the point. Real collaboration has significant advantages that can not to be sniffed at. Smart people along with smart businesses are embracing collaboration now.

So my point is this, why then should leadership be any different in this regard.
Collaborative leadership is a concept I like, hence the principles behind “shared leadership” are ones which appeal to me greatly.

Let’s be clear here, two traits that a leader must possess to operate shared leadership are courage and confidence – the courage to trust that people can do the job, and the confidence to not want to own leadership exclusively. Insecure leaders on the other hand, are much more likely to instead choose to surround themselves with yes men – who will provide reassurance over challenge.

The role of the leader changes in a shared leadership situation. The unburdening of his or her “William Wallace” allows for a new categorisation of responsibility. It can be summed up in difficult language or indeed, it can be summed up plainly. My tastes have always been for the less exotic.

•    Find the right people
•    Trust the right people
•    Support the right people
•    Let the right people get on with it.
•    Manage the Interactions between the right people
•    On occasion allow the right people to make mistakes

The collaborative leader is a strategist and manager of people but as importantly he or she is also a teacher and indeed sometimes even a parent. I repeated “right people” in my summing up; this is because one significant advantage I feel a collaborative leader brings is in their ability to recognise the right people. This is then coupled with an ability to develop these same people.

Crucially if you truly understand that it is the people that are the organisation’s greatest resource, you should now begin to realise how fundamentally important this ability is in terms of success.

So then, if you are a leader, ask yourself the question do I need to own leadership?  If the answer is yes, perhaps you may be in the wrong job??

The Author:

Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (, & to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care.

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  • Hi Skip, “Inspiring others to do something they ordinarily would not do, and/or coaching them to perform at an even higher level than they ordinarily would perform, if left on their own.”This is excellent and I agree it's definitely about inspiring people to do more than they thought they could. Ill also be sure to check out your leadership tips, you have inspired me to do so, thanks for letting me know :)Warm regards,Niall

  • Niall,Thanks for your kind comments. I'm pleased you like my definition.Keep up the good work, I'm looking forward to reading more from you, as well.Make it a great day!Best Regards,Skip

  • One key aspect it not to sell. You need to create a relationship first, not enter into a sales pitch with someone you barely know.

  • Hi Derbhile, John’s point about not entering to a sales pitch is well made. Another that I find useful is to concentrate on having 2-3 good conversations rather than the usual 20-30 hellos. Doing a little research beforehand on who is attending is also well worthwhile.

  • Hi Derbhile. A good set of pointers. I would re-enforce the comment from John about not making it a sales pitch. It’s a conversation and relationship building exercise that in turn may/should lead to business either directly or indirectly – and that this can take some time. Also I would say that most, if not all, of these helpful hints apply to online networking as well. Thanks for sharing your learnings.

  • Excellent tips – I am a little confused as to what exactly a “spritz” is 😉

    Definitely, being a connector is a great way to help people remember you, and stay away from the hard sell.
    Connecting is more about relationships these days, networking has fundamentally changed in past 2 years – thankfully for the better.
    Only by attending will anyone get over their network nerves – I was terrible when I began, but have seen a vast improvement over the 12 months or so. As you point out, spend the first few visits of any one network group to just become more comfortable with yourself, and hear yourself speaking – what you are confident about and what needs a confidence boost 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Great post Derbhile. Preparation is key. If you get a chance you should practiceyour elevator pitch with a friend and/or relative. If that’s not possible record yourself. Use video if possible, or audio if not.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Derbhile. Preparation is key. If you get a chance you should practiceyour elevator pitch with a friend and/or relative. If that’s not possible record yourself. Use video if possible, or audio if not.

  • I like what you wrote Derbhile and I do agree with those that have already left comments, especially the point of ‘not making a sales pitch’.

    I would say that who you are talking to is the person you are focused on, I see in networking events (too often) those that are dashing around the room to meet as many people as possible and while talking to one person have already focused on the next person they wish to meet. Like Niall said having 2-3 good conversations are often more useful than 20-30 hellos.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Derbhile, you have hit the nail on the head here.
    I think having the right attitude is the most important thing in networking- I often think many people attend networking events thinking it is all about them- when in fact it’s not- its about the other people at the event – the people you want to connect with.
    I believe you have to view networking as a long term investment and not something you do once in a while. As someone once said- networking is a reccurring committment.