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2 Tutorials that teach Shared/Distributed Leadership
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Shared/Distributed Leadership

Shared/Distributed Leadership

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, you will learn the concepts of shared leadership.

In this lesson, you will learn how shared leadership is connected to the PLC.

In this lesson, you will understand what shared leadership looks like in a K-12 organization.

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Video Transcription

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe, and in this video lesson we will discuss shared or distributed leadership. As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives and together we'll use the following two questions to guide our learning in this video lesson. First, what is shared leadership? And second, what does shared leadership look like in a professional learning community?

Let's start out by talking about what shared leadership or distributed leadership is. In shared leadership the team members lead each other. Each member contributes and is empowered to make decisions equally. Together team members develop norms and a shared mission. The vision for the group is also determined together, with no one leader.

Social network theory frames this theory of shared leadership. Remember social network theory is based on the idea that communication and relationships are essential to learning, both relationships with others as well as information. Open dialogue and respect are essential to creating these environments. There are three main focus areas within shared leadership. These are ownership, learning and sharing. To find more information on shared leadership, I encourage you to take a look at the research of Gary Yukl, Pearce and Conger, and Heifitz.

Let's talk about how shared leadership is connected to the professional learning community. In shared leadership, a central purpose is created by the team together. The team works collaboratively to meet goals and objectives that they have developed themselves. Team members are given voice and the team works toward the goals of improving schools as well as the goal of higher student achievement. Let's take a look at an example of what this might look like in a professional learning community.

First, the school establishes a team designated to school improvement. The team then works together setting norms, missions, and a vision. Next, they collectively review student achievement data and behavioral data for the school, and after doing so three main school-wide goals are developed. The team creates SMART goals for each of these three goals. And within the smart goals, responsibility is established for each of the action steps that require regular checking.

During check in, suggestions are made to improve, and these are based on the review of ongoing data as well as all of the various observations. The team works with administration and they are respected and looked at as important leaders of the school.

So let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the following questions. What is shared leadership? As well as, what does shared leadership look like in a professional learning community? We discussed shared leadership or distributed leadership, and how this is a model where leadership is shared or distributed within the entire group. No one member is the leader. Instead, group members are all empowered to make decisions and all members are equal.

We looked at an example of a specific walk through in a professional learning community, where the team got together and established norms, missions and a vision, reviewed data and made three school-wide goals together. Then they created SMART goals for each of these goals and established action steps and responsibilities. The team worked with administration and they were respected and looked at as important leaders at the school.

Now that you're more familiar with shared leadership, let's reflect. What might the benefits and challenges be to your teaching when using shared leadership? What would be your first steps in bringing shared leadership to your school if it was not a familiar concept?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson shared or distributed leadership. I hope you found value in this video lesson, and I hope you're able to apply these ideas about shared leadership and what that looks like in the professional learning community to your own teaching. To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on “Shared/Distributed Leadership”


(00:00- 00:24) Intro/Objectives

(00:25- 01:23) What is Shared Leadership?

(01:24- 01:49) Shared Leadership and the PLC

(01:50- 02:41) Example of Shared Leadership in the PLC  

(02:42- 03:33) Recap

(03:34- 04:21) Reflection   

Additional Resources

Strategies for Creating Effective School Leadership Teams

This site provides an overview of shared leadership, a rationale for using shared leadership, and suggestions for establishing shared leadership in your organization.

Professional Learning Committees: Characteristics, Principals, and Teachers

This article provides a comprehensive explanation of the shared leadership required for the sustainability and effective functioning of a Professional Learning Community.