This article describes a distributed leadership system that works effectively with self-managed teams (SMTs). Derived from a long term, qualitative field study, the system relies on using multiple leaders concommitantly and/or sequentially within a group. Leaders provide one of four basic types of leadership—envisioning leadership, which revolves around creativity and development of overall business vision, social leadership, which centers on the interpersonal dealings within a group, spanning leadership, which is concerned with acquiring and disseminating resources external to a group, and organizing leadership, which involves developing and maintaining task structures and plans, information management systems, and control systems. Case examples are used to demonstrate successful and unsuccessful applications of the distributed leadership model.
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