Collective leadership represents a form of both shared and distributed leadership in which different stakeholders collaborate in achieving shared aims whilst ensuring that their own aims and objectives are supported. Intelligent networks and knowledge lie at the heart of this collective activity.

In the 'tabbed' section below you can explore the Collective Leadership Framework that underpins the accompanying Collective Leadership Inventory. This is the main product that emerged from the Selfless Leader.

Collective Vision

The collective vision should aim to draw together the aims and objectives of all partner agencies that share a common vision in a way that secures mutual benefit for all. For example, local targets and national and regional strategies to achieve transformational efficiency and improvement targets should thus form part of and support the wider vision of community well being as well as encouraging other agencies to support the aims and objectives set out by these national and regional targets.

The vision emphasises both shared and distributed outcomes based on the collective vision in creating and demonstrating public value

In building your shared vision, consider your stakeholders in your partnership activity, ask:

  • Who are they and do you and they understand the challenges in relation to the development of a shared vision

  • What needs are identified and used in developing your shared vision

  • Don’t go it alone – bring others on board with your aims and seek mutual benefit

  • To what extent do you communicate the vision of your organisation to your partners?

  • Do you communicate your key local priorities and delivery objectives to your own staff and the public

  • Do you clarify and operationalise your role as the local leader of ‘place’?

Outcome Focus

Outcomes should provide a framework for ambitious but realistic goals across the spectrum of partners, timescales and overall well being targets. They should be meaningful to all stakeholders. Above all they should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based).

Are we measuring the right things? We should "count what counts and not what can be counted" (Albert Einstein).
Outcomes should reflect the creation and demonstration of public value

In relation to the work of partners, ask:

  • What are the key outcomes that the partnership is aimed at achieving?

  • How well positioned is your organisation in either drawing other partners together or in being an active member of the partnership in achieving these outcomes

  • To what extent does your organisation or the partnership as a whole take both individual and collective responsibility to achieve these outcomes?

Multiple Level Leadership

Organisations or partnerships should acknowledge that there are multiple levels of leadership in providing services to the public in the achievement of a partnership wide community plan.

Shared and distributed leadership takes place throughout and across each partner organisation or stakeholder group

In relation to Partnership working, ask:

  • To what extent is leadership shared between partner organisations?

  • To what extent is leadership distributed between people within your own teams?

  • To what extent is leadership also shared between your teams and those in other public or provider organizations?

Partnership Working

Partnership is viewed as a key to improvement in identifying and responding to shared priorities and performance and in ensuring that all organizations that provide local services have a deep understanding of what really matters to users, the public and those who deliver the services..

There is an appreciation of and commitment to working with partners and the development of effective networks

In relation to Partnership working, ask:

  • To what extent do partners seek to stimulate discussion on public services and wider community priorities?

  • Do partners develop their own functions to support the wider aims including engagement with other partnerships and operationally focused thematic partnerships?

  • Do partnerships share information and intelligence in relation to priorities and put this as a core activity?

  • Do agencies look to the partnership to tackle jointly, shared problems?

Action Oriented and Adaptive

The partnership should engage in routine action focused approaches in turning strategic intentions into delivery and in identifying and responding to gaps in delivery.
Do you have your action mapped out?

There is a focus on the achievement of joint objectives and outcomes through shared action and activity which is both evidence and intelligence based

In relation to Partnership working, ask:

  • To what extent do partners engage in activity that is transformational (in encouraging innovative change) as well as transactional (in managing the day to day work of the partnership and agencies)

  • Do partners actively engage stakeholders in activity through coproduction?

  • Does the partnership exchange data and information and turn information into intelligence, knowledge and action through problem solving approaches

Systems and Structures

Systems and structures should be aligned to the collective vision. They should help in ensuring that investment choices that reflect current services raise confidence that choices can be made about how services are delivered. Service specifications should be aligned to the outcomes framework.

Systems and structures are in place to support the vision and action plan in delivering transformational change

In relation to the systems supporting the partnership, ask:

  • Do clear and accurate services specifications reflect partnership values whilst supporting the values of other stakeholders?

  • Are investments prioritised based on an understanding of trends and behaviours and the known gaps?

  • Do workforce planning processes support the vision and commissioning frameworks?

  • Is the quality of services given enough emphasis?

Skills and Behaviours

The development of skills and appropriate behaviours are key elements in transforming the vision into delivery and – in this case – moving towards the stated aims of the vision.

Development of leaders and individuals takes place to support the transformation of the collective vision into delivery

In relation to building the capacity and capability of the Partnership, ask:

  • Is there a sufficient focus on encouraging knowledge, skills, behaviours and characteristics that will underpin effective delivery?

  • Are skills being developed to ensure that capability and capacity is being built in turning the vision into strategy and then, into practice?

  • Do leaders engage with development and training organisations to improve capability for both the organisation/s and individuals within them?

  • Does the culture of the organisation and its partners encourage skills to undertake self reflection (on individual leadership style and competences) and organisational reflection?