We are so pleased to see Job sharing gaining more traction in senior roles. With increasing numbers of leadership Job shares springing up, I thought it would be timely to publish our experience of what is important to consider when it comes to leading as a Job share Partnership. The more senior the role, the more relevant the point that "success in Job sharing requires a Talent Partnership mindset, as opposed to a Job share mindset".
Adopting a Talent Partnership mindset
Ironically, interpreting a Job share as "sharing a job" doesn't lead to success, quite the opposite in fact; it encourages a mindset of "arranging cover" as opposed to "ensuring continuity". It is this mindset that informs the all too common judgement of "this role isn't suited to Job sharing". Adopting a Talent Partnership mindset from the outset builds a partnership approach to full-time continuity, with inherent communication and commitment to building reputation around a Talent Partnership identity; this approach is crucial for success in leadership.
Practical considerations when leading a team
Having created and supported Talent Partnerships for several years, we recognise that whilst there isn't necessarily a "one size fits all" approach to managing as a partnership, there are common success criteria. Our advice is to avoid splitting the role, since this introduces breaks in continuity and instead to take lead in certain aspects, whilst ensuring the partnership retains ownership and accountability for all duties. Some partnerships successfully split out the man management duties from other project duties and this can work. Other partnerships have split man management and then found that a full partnership approach works better. So with this in mind, our advice is to start with a plan, stick to the plan, review effectiveness early and be prepared to refine the approach based on success.
Pioneers of senior level Job share partnerships are inherently part of building cultural acceptance in their organisation, by delivering successfully and becoming role models to support further roll out. It's important to bare in mind as leaders and managers of teams, that your effective, transparent communication and a consistent approach sets a great example and is part of building wider trust and cultural acceptance.
Top tips to take away
With a Talent Partnership mindset, our top tips for getting started in leading and managing as a Job share are:
1. Agree your vision and communication plan for managing the team together at the outset, stick to it, and review regularly, with a first 360 at 3 months.
2. Whether your approach is a pure share, or you are taking lead on certain aspects, ensure this is clearly communicated to the team. Share how you maintain continuity and ensure that your system is set up to reflect and support your approach e.g. should team members be able to specify one partner over the other?.
3. Present a united front; always back each other up and tackle differences offline during your comms sessions.
4. Be prepared to flex based on what works best; run regular 360 feedback with the team and wider stakeholders.
5. Schedule performance reviews on overlap days to reinforce the partnership identity with the team.
A final point to consider when managing teams is to be intentional about creating opportunities to deputise e.g. by taking holiday at the same time at certain times of the year to give team members the opportunity to step up.
Advice and support
At Ginibee, our Partner Up training programme has been designed to address and accelerate cultural acceptance of implementing Jobsharing. If you have any questions about this post we would love to hear from you. Or to find out more about how we can help you to successfully implement Job sharing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Sara is the founder and CEO of Ginibee and a proud mum of two legends. Absolutely passionate about making successful Job sharing accessible, Sara set Ginibee up with the sole mission of "making successful Job sharing accessible" and has specialised in optimising and similifying the process to create successful Job shares since 2013 and in doing so has created a unique into a purpose-built platform, to accelerate the creation of Talent Partnerships.
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