Webinar Review: Co-Leadership – How being a leader is within your reach

By Bram Bronneberg

Part of my webinar review series on the EuroSTAR webinars

Webinar URL

Webinar Summary
Bram starts off by defining Co-leadership as shared leadership, horizontal leadership, collective leadership or distributed leadership. The concept here is that we all have a leadership role, even if it isn’t a formal role. He goes on to define what he saw as the three main responsibilities of a leader:
  • Inspire
  • Give Direction
  • Incite Change
He then proceeds to use Bob the tester, a fictional person, and follows his story through starting out as a new tester, who then experiences some challenges with his colleagues and falls “down the mountain”, with the mountain being a metaphor for one’s outlook or confidence in his team and his abilities. Bram defines four phases of this move down the mountain with confident and contributing being the attributes of those atop the mountain, moving downward one finds doubt, fault-finding followed by lack of caring as the element that characterizes being at the bottom of the mountain.
The final section of the webinar discuss Bob the tester’s experience and considers it from two perspectives. How Bob can avoid moving down the mountain and the responsibility that Bob (and other team members) have for helping other members of the team move up the mountain. He also makes an important point that those who help the team succeed, those who assist with the leading, cannot effectively do it from the bottom of the mountain.
Some of the steps or suggestions he provides including “patting people on the back” (i.e. complimenting or encouraging them), providing feedback when they look for it and confronting them when they have given up (he even mentioned insulting them to motivate them if needed, though I disagree with the characterization of insulting and would use “challenge” them instead). These specific ideas coincide with the big ideas of what leaders do (inspire, give direction, incite change).
He closed his portion of the webinar presentation (there was some Q&A afterwards) by highlighting some additional points for co-leadership to work among teams:
  • Know where you and your colleagues are on the mountain
  • Help each other back to the top
  • Step up to the plate personally
My Take
The concept of co-leadership was an interesting one to me and I was intrigued by the story he was going to use as the backdrop of his presentation (Bob the new tester) because I felt like it might pertain to my situation. Unfortunately, I found that using a fictional representation to drive the narrative and main ideas behind the webinar made it feel too theoretical. There were not enough real experiences to allow me to connect with and understand how his ideas occur or are implemented in “the real world”.
I still find the idea of shared leadership/responsibility to be valuable and the idea feels like it should be very applicable to agile teams especially. The part of this co-leadership idea that resonated most with me was the concept that I have a responsibility to know where I and my colleagues are on this “mountain” he speaks of. I think this idea (this responsibility really) is one that can be useful to me moving, however the rest on the webinar just did not have enough concrete examples to be as valuable as it could have been.
I have also decided to use the following scale to provide a final rating/summary of the webinar. The scale is composed of the following options: Well Worth Watching, Take it or Leave it, and Skip It. Well Worth Watching means I think a tester should definitely view the webinar. Take it or Leave it means that it might have some ideas you would find compelling, but I’m on the fence about it. Skip It means I think you can get more value out of your learning time by viewing another webinar.

My Rating: 
Skip It

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