The One Thing Leaders Want

Leaders want dialog.

You want the ability to discuss, debate, shape and influence a decision before it is made.

The people you lead — or your teenage daughter, or the committee members at church, or the division heads of your organization — want the same thing with you.

Honest, open dialog facilitates shared leadership. Leaders want to share leadership.

This fascinated me, as when our organization restructured recently, one of the five principles guiding our efforts was “shared leadership.” Many leaders initially resisted this, claiming that the essence of leadership—at least in their culture—was having someone in charge to make the final decisions. Yet people don’t want to be led that way. They want to voice their opinions. They want to help shape overall direction. They long for the dynamic interaction among leader-followers that characterizes high performance teams. They want to be engaged in issues and decisions that they will ultimately own. They long to share leadership.

Leaders want dialog.

Read more on this topic in my book CLOSE: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures.


By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at

2 replies on “The One Thing Leaders Want”

Great post. Our team just recently started to practise more dialog over discussion. Could you give a suggestion to a book a any other resource on a topic shared leadership?

Hi Viktor, Thanks for interacting with the idea of dialog. I believe you would be served by my book, CLOSE: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures. This specifically addresses servant leadership and shared leadership. It is available in paperback or Kindle edition on I have also made a few other posts about shared leadership that you may find helpful. Just search for “shared leadership” on my blog.

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