Co-Leadership: Lessons from Republican Rome

by David Sally



The Roman Republic embraced a system of co-leadership that thrived for over four centuries before dissolving into the dictatorship of the Empire. Many modern firms are evolving in the opposite direction, as sole leadership structures are replaced or augmented by shared leadership. This modern evolution has been prompted by the increasing prevalence of job sharing and teams in the workplace, joint leadership in the family, and complex technology and massive mergers in the marketplace. This article identifies ten key lessons that the republicans of Rome understood and that are extremely relevant for the modern organization attempting to institute or sustain co-leadership. These ten lessons find parallels in the successes and failures of co-leadership at such firms as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Unilever, and DaimlerChrysler.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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