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Cristina Gibson Describes How Shared Leadership Creates Effective Teams in a Remote World

January 3, 2022  | 1 min read

Cristina Gibson profileSenior leaders are embracing the productivity and performance gained from remote work, says Dr. Cristina Gibson, the Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Management in the Applied Behavioral Science group at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. Global companies including Amazon, SAP and (naturally) Zoom, are purposely recruiting for work-from-home positions. Forward-looking leaders in the c-suite and in corporate boardrooms are past deciding “if” remote work will work. They are examining “how.” For global companies to enjoy success or accelerate benefits, writes Dr. Gibson in Chief Executive, they should consider leadership approaches that conform to remote work settings. In the journey ahead, “shared leadership” should be a key ingredient in setting the course. New research, of which Dr. Gibson is an author, in the Journal of International Management shows when collaborators are separated by geography, typical approaches to leadership are not as effective. Instead, “shared leadership,” which involves dividing up leader responsibilities across multiple people, was more helpful the more teams work virtually across locations. According to Dr. Gibson, leaders should “start low, go slow”, rotating minor leadership tasks around the team until members are familiar with having different leaders. They should also consider how cultural orientation toward traditionalism could impact team effectiveness. Finally, they should also recognize successes under linear leadership and validate these teams internally (within the team) and externally (throughout the organization) to support new management approaches. 

The full opinion is in Chief Executive.