26 Feb 2019

Shared Leadership

Shared Leadership is the new working model which has been implemented at car2go since September 2018. The first duo to take advantage of this new working model is Adele Gutstein and Caroline Siber. Two leaders who now share the role of Head of Customer Service Europe. Does it work?

Take two talented women, one leadership position and 30 hours of work respectively – the result: a new working model at car2go called Shared Leadership.

Caroline Siber, who recently returned from her parental leave, and Adele Gutstein, who took over Caroline’s position in April 2017, now share the role of Head of Customer Service for car2go Europe.

Since this is a first for car2go and a real Innovation we are curious to find out how is it working? So we  asked Adele and Caroline.

How have you both settled into your new shared leadership role?

Adele: I would say pretty well. The benefits of sharing a position were noticeable immediately. Not only are we able to divide arising issues, which helps to get our work done faster, it’s also very helpful that we can exchange ideas in difficult situations.

Decisions can be made faster and more results are achieved.

In addition to all that, we can cover each others vacation times. For example, in October I was on vacation for three weeks. Caro totally rocked it, while I got to explore South Africa, knowing that everything was in good hands.

Our team always had a contact person and for me, returning to work was much smoother than on previous occasions.

Caroline: Very true. I fully agree. We complement each other perfectly. Our mindset on leading a team, arrangements and structuring work is very similar, which makes working together quite easy.

Nevertheless, we both have our individual strengths which complement each and allow us to learn from one another.

Both of you work 30 hours a week. How do you share tasks?

Caroline: We made the decision that we wouldn’t just divide certain tasks and topics, because it is our goal that both of us are always aware of what’s going on. That is why Adele and I both want to generally be informed on all topics.

So far it’s working great, thanks to our team and the organization that managed the transition quite fast. Nevertheless, we split up tasks once they have to be dealt with and decide together who takes on which topic at a certain time.

Adele: Exactly. We also use many helpful tools like Wunderlist and Evernote to make sure that we don’t forget anything and avoid double work. The most important points of our conversations are noted down and tasks and topics can be divided.

Of course we organize our work hours in a way that at least one of us is available every day. In case of a change we inform our team via Slack.

How does your team cope with the shared leadership?

Caroline: You would have to ask our team (laughs). Two weeks ago we organized a team workshop and asked for feedback from everyone.

One of the key factors of success is an honest and open feedback culture, only that way job sharing can be successful – not only for us but also for the entire team and company.

There were isolated doubts about the effort that is needed to make it work and whether or not it’s more complicated to convince two leaders instead of just the 1 person. Apart from that, the feedback was incredibly positive and in line with our ideas– which is great.

Be honest, were there any obstacles you had to overcome?

Adele: I wouldn’t call it obstacles, but in the first few weeks we attended all the meetings together so that Caroline would have an easier start after her parental leave. That wasn’t extremely efficient, but very important to create a common basis.

Since then we fine-tuned our shared working model and each of us attends specific meetings, which is working pretty well.

One key success factor is good communication and coordination. Luckily this comes naturally to both of us and most days we start organizing our day on our way to work.

Caroline: I can’t think of any obstacles either. It was important to us to set certain rules for our close cooperation. Right from the start we have been giving each other honest feedback on a regular basis.

Would you say that Shared Leadership is a model for the future?

Adele: It definitely is. Three groups benefit from it: first of all, those that share their position and tasks. They can reduce their work hours and have more time for their family and other projects.

Secondly, the team, because there is always at least one responsible contact person available and vacation times or sick days won’t have such a big impact.

And thirdly, the company, since two colleagues work a combined time of 60 hours, consolidate their strengths and thus achieve more.

Caroline: I agree. The working world needs to rethink its working models. It’s great to see how we as car2go get to be part of this change early on.

So far, we did not have to do any persuading and only got positive feedback and a large interest in the matter. In my opinion, trust, communication and teamwork are the foundation of successful job sharing.


Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences with us!